By Andrew Atkinson

The Provincial Court of Alicante approved compensation of €132,000 following the death of bather in Villajoyosa, who drowned on July 4, 2019.

The Court confirmed the conviction of two employees of the entity responsible for the service for a minor crime of reckless homicide.

The compensation was made in favour of the five children of the deceased which occurred the the beach of Basseta de l’Oli, Villajoyosa.

The drowning was reportedly deemed, due to the lack of surveillance of two employees of the entity that provided this service.

In the same appeal judgment, the Court confirmed the condemnation of said workers to the payment of fines of €2,160 as perpetrators of a minor crime of reckless homicide.

The Chamber dismissed the appeals filed by the convicted persons and by the entity for which they worked, Asociación Ayuda en Carretera DYA Elche, against the sentence issued in December 2020 by the Investigative Court 2 of Villajoyosa.

The condemned workers were alerted by a bather that there was a body floating in the water when they were about 50 metres away from the shore, ‘totally unaware of what was happening’ to the victim, according to the Court ruling.

The Chamber rules out that the recklessness committed by the employees can be classified as mild, rather than less serious, since they were ‘in charge of security’.

This was stipulated in the specifications of the contract signed between the Consistory and the awardee of the service, according to which the accessible beaches programme was also aimed at ‘elderly people who have mobility problems or need supervision and help in the bathroom on the beach’.

“The existence of this contractually established obligation makes them guarantors of the safety of the bathers placed in their charge, so this incident cannot be called a mere distraction”, the Court specified about the employees.

The Court considers the ‘causal link between the omission of the appellants and the death’ of the bather, who died due to suffocation by submersion, that is, drowned, something that ‘would not have happened if helped in time’.

The Court has only estimated the appeals filed by the children of the deceased to increase the compensation to be paid by an insurance company: from €103,483, recognized in the first instance by the court to €132,607.

The Chamber agreed to the increase the scale for accidents corresponding to the year of the sentence, 2020, and not that of 2019, when the events occurred.