Justice achieved in case where a child drowned in sports club

The Dispute Resolution team represented the victims in a criminal liability case involving the death of a 7-year-old boy during a swimming training session at a sports club.

A young family, who planned to return to Lithuania permanently from emigration and had started taking their son to swimming lessons to strengthen him, suffered the greatest tragedy of their lives: during the first training session their son was not properly supervised, the mother was not allowed to meet him after the training session, and he returned to the pool on his own and drowned.

The case lasted seven years and required a great deal of consistent work. Initially, the prosecutor’s office dropped the pre-trial investigation, and only after an appeal against this decision the investigation continued, ending in the filing of charges against the manager of the club where the accident occurred.

Following a favourable verdict by the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal acquitted the accused. Following an appeal to the Supreme Court of Lithuania on behalf of the clients, an unappealable ruling established that the manager of the club is liable as she had a duty to ensure safe conditions for the child’s stay in the swimming pool and that she breached this duty, which led to the accident.

This case shows that the fight for justice takes time, but it can be achieved with the right attention, energy and competence.

It is a strong call to corporate managers not to be tempted to cut corners at the expense of customer safety. At the end of the day, the individual who has to ensure safety but fails to do so properly will be held accountable (regardless of the benefit to shareholders created by such frugality). The safety of visitors is, therefore, a value that cannot be put at odds with the desire to save money and increase profit.

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