No criminal charges in Berkley balcony case

No criminal charges in Berkley balcony case
25/06/2015. Family members of Lorcan Miller leaving at Rathmichael Parish Church in Shankill, Dublin of the Funeral of Lorcan Miller. Mr Miller was one of six young people who died in the Berkley Balcony collapse. Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

The district attorney investigating a balcony collapse that resulted in the deaths of five Irish students and one Irish-American has confirmed that she will not be bringing any criminal charges in relation to the incident.

Nancy O’Malley, the DA for Alameda County, said she had not come to the decision lightly and that it had required months of consultation.

However, she said there was “insufficient evidence” to bring criminal manslaughter charges.

Five 21-year-old Irish students – Eoghan Culligan, Eimar Walsh, Niccolai Schuster, Olivia Burke, Lorcan Miller – and Ashley Donohoe, a 22-year-old Irish-American, died when the fourth-floor balcony they were standing on collapsed in June last year.

Seven other Irish students were critically injured.

“Not a day has passed since the tragedy of June 16 that I have not thought about the victims and their families,” Ms O’Malley said.

“I am keenly aware of the devastation and injuries each victim and each family suffered and continues to confront.

“Friends, families and entire communities both in California and in Ireland have been affected by the horror of that day.”

No criminal charges in Berkley balcony case
25/06/2015. Funeral of Lorcan Miller. Photo by Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Upon hearing the news, Irish foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan also gave his thoughts to the relatives and friends of those affected.

“My thoughts today are first and foremost with the families and friends of the six young people who tragically lost their lives in Berkeley last June.

“My Department will carefully consider the details of the District Attorney’s findings. While the District Attorney’s investigation did not find sufficient proof to take separate criminal proceedings, it has shone a vital light on the circumstances and factors that contributed directly and indirectly to the collapse of the balcony. This investigation is an important step in a process, the ultimate objective of which is to ensure that a tragedy such as Berkeley never occurs again.

“My Department remains in close contact with the families and will continue, including through our Consulate General in San Francisco, to offer them our full support and assistance.”

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