Rebuilding a Life

Bruce Robinson has faced the prospect of jail for more than a decade – his charges were finally dropped last week.

On 28th January 2006, the roof of the Katowice Exhibition Centre collapsed under the weight of snow on the roof, tragically killing 65 people.

‘On duty’ at the centre was Bruce Robinson as MD of seven companies for Expomedia who managed the venue. Whilst this was clearly a design and constructing issue for which the Architects were at fault, Bruce, in feeling a truly honourable moral duty to stay and help, found himself arrested at the scene.

Bruce spent a year in a temporary arrest facility uncharged before being released pending trial. Unbelievably, Bruce has, for 11-and-a-half years, had a further up to 8 year jail sentence hanging over him until, only last week, Bruce was found not guilty by the Polish Appeal Court.

That is only a small part of the story. Twice in 2011 and 2017, Bruce bravely took to the stage at tfconnect’s Global CEO Summit to talk about the situation he was in and the impact on his whole life.

At the Summit in 2011, he explained that the year in jail had cost his marriage, challenged his mental wellbeing and, out of it, he became a born again Christian.

He reduced most of the audience to tears when he told them about a particularly harrowing incident whilst in jail. Bruce had two young children who he was told were on the phone to speak to him. He’d not spoken to them in months. However, he’d first need to sign a document which would have effectively seen him accept liability for the roof collapse. Bruce agonised, decided he couldn’t sign the document but pleaded for the clearance to talk to his children. He was told that they had never been on the end of the phone!

Bruce, through the most incredible inner strength, rebuilt his life, remarried and had a new family. However, the trial and possible jail sentence remained over his head for a further 10-and-a-half long years.

The Prosecutor has stated her intention to send the verdict for Bruce up to the Supreme Court, which will probably take place in the last quarter of 2018. For now though, justice has prevailed and, needless to say, Bruce and his family are hugely relieved. There is, of course, no victory but the way in which Bruce handled this situation from start to finish was nothing short of amazing. He is an extra-ordinary individual who went through the most unimaginable of situations that any one of us could have had to face in our industry.

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