39-year-old French engineer charged with manslaughter in Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge accident released on HK$100,000 bail

Shatin Magistrates Courts

28th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) Brouillet Remi Pierre, a 39-year-old French engineer has been charged with manslaughter in connection with a tragic incident that occurred in 2017. The incident took place on 29th March, 2017, when a temporary working platform beneath the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge collapsed during its construction. Regrettably, this incident resulted in the death of Gurung Anel, a Nepalese man and Onwuka Okomba Onwuka Uka, a Nigerian man, aged 22 and 40, respectively, while three others sustained injuries.

The New Territories South Regional Crime Unit initiated a thorough investigation following the incident. They carefully examined various investigation reports released subsequently. The findings indicated that the accident was the result of severe negligence on the part of a 39-year-old French engineer employed by a contractor during the construction phase. The engineer had left Hong Kong after the incident. After seeking legal advice, the police obtained a warrant for his arrest on suspicion of manslaughter.

Recently, on 26th September, the engineer arrived at Hong Kong International Airport, where law enforcement authorities promptly took him into custody for further investigation. Subsequently, the police formally charged him with one count of manslaughter. The case was brought before the Sha Tin Magistrates’ Courts for its initial hearing today. During the hearing, the defendant did not have to enter a plea. The judge approved the prosecution’s request to adjourn the case until 3rd January of the following year to allow for further investigation. The defendant was granted bail in the amount of HK$100,000 but with specific conditions, including surrendering his travel documents, providing a registered address of residence, reporting to the police station once a week, and refraining from any direct or indirect contact with prosecution witnesses.

The defendant appeared in court wearing a grey long-sleeved shirt and was assisted by a French interpreter. His lawyer, Christopher Morley, mentioned that the defendant is fluent in English and requested that translation services not be required for the next mention.

Judge David Chum inquired about the reason for the three-month adjournment requested by the prosecution. The prosecution explained that the defendant was arrested the day before and considering that the incident occurred in 2017, additional time is needed for investigation and confirmation of prosecution witnesses. The defence expressed no objection to the adjournment.

The prosecution initially mentioned that besides holding a French passport, the defendant also possesses a Hong Kong identity card, which they requested to be surrendered. The judge questioned the necessity of surrendering the identity card and stated that holding an identity card would prevent the defendant from leaving the territory. The prosecution subsequently retracted their request and stated that surrendering the identity card was not necessary.