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Former RIM Indonesia chief faces negligence charge over stampede

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Indonesian police have said they may charge the outgoing Research in Motion chief in the country with negligence in connection to the stampede last month at a BlackBerry event in a mall in Jakarta.

Canadian Andrew Cobham is one of four people who could be charged with negligence leading to injury over the event on 25 November, when around 90 people fainted and three were injured.

The promotional event was for the launch of the BlackBerry Bold 9790, which the shop was selling at a 50 per cent discount for the first thousand customers.

According to the Jakarta Globe, Cobham has not yet been arrested, but he has to report to Jakarta Police headquarters regularly.

Police spokesman senior commander Baharuddin Djafar said the maximum sentence for the charge is nine months.

The police said that RIM officials should have known that the event would attract a big crowd and also blamed the company for changing the rules of the promotion at the last minute.

Around 3,000 people showed up to the event and were initially told that they would need to get a red bracelet from the organisers in order to buy a phone, but RIM staff eventually decided to abandon that plan.

Because they didn’t inform everyone of the change, some people in the crowd were outraged when they saw people getting the new smartphone without a bracelet.

The other suspects include the mall’s head of security, the event organiser and a RIM security consultant.

RIM had already announced last month that Cobham was being replaced by Rohilesh Singh, who is RIM Indonesia’s managing director at the moment.

The incident in Indonesia isn’t the Canadian firm’s only problem at the moment, as brokerages are also cutting the price target of its stock after the BlackBerry-maker warned of lower profits.

At the start of the month, RIM lowered its third quarter outlook, mainly due to an inventory pile-up of its PlayBooks.

CIBC slashed its price target to $25 from $55, while Nomura cut its target to $18.9 from $26, Reuters reported. ®

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