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November 10, 2010

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Parents to be compensated for son's death

The parents of a 10-year-old boy who fell to his death from the roof of their apartment building won compensation totaling about 630,000 yuan (US$94,460), Changning District People's Court said yesterday.

The court ruled the two defendants - Kerry Development (Shanghai) Co Ltd and Kerry Construction Management (Shanghai) Co Ltd - were mostly at fault for the boy's death due to negligent management.

But the court also said the parents were partly to blame for not supervising the boy properly.

Kerry Construction, the property manager, was ordered to pay compensation of more than 330,000 yuan while Kerry Development was ordered to pay more than 250,000 yuan to the parents. Each should pay the Chinese-Japanese couple an additional 20,000 yuan for mental anguish, according to the verdict.

The boy fell from the rooftop of the 38-story Kerry Residence on Huashan Road in Changning, where the family has lived since 2005, on March 18, 2009. He went out on his own after finishing his homework.

A surveillance tape showed the boy took a lift to the top floor and opened a glass door to go on the roof.

A key reason for the accident was that the glass door was one-way. People could open the door to get on the roof, but once on the roof a key was needed to open it and go back inside.

Police concluded the boy got trapped on the roof. An analysis of his fingerprints and footprints showed he had tried to save himself. He may have climbed onto the rails of the roof top to seek help and fell after losing his grip, the court heard.

The plaintiffs said the defendants were responsible for constructing a building with high potential danger and for failing to attach a warning to the glass door and an alarm system.

The defendants argued the parents didn't supervise the boy.

The court found the rooftop doors in the complex's other buildings could all be opened from both sides.

It indicated the defendants had noticed the potential danger of the one-way lock but didn't change it, the court ruled.


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