A Superior Court judge on Tuesday postponed sentencing for Gregory Nisbet, the Portland landlord who owned an apartment building on Noyes Street where six young people died in a fast-moving fire two years ago.

Nisbet, who was acquitted of manslaughter charges last month, was scheduled to be sentenced for a building code violation that was discovered after the fire. But Justice Thomas Warren postponed sentencing until Thursday because of a miscommunication between himself and the attorneys about whether all of the family members of the victims would be allowed to address the court.

On Tuesday morning, only a few family members were in court. After consulting with state prosecutors, Warren said other family members would have attended the sentencing if they knew they would be allowed to speak.

“I think it’s fair to allow people who want to be heard to be here and not deprive them of that because of a misunderstanding,” Warren told the court after an hour-long delay.

Nisbet, 51, was originally charged with six counts of manslaughter – one for each of the young adults killed by the accidental 2014 fire in his Noyes Street building. He was also charged with several building code violations for allegedly running an illegal rooming house at 20 Noyes St.

However, Warren found Nisbet not guilty on all six manslaughter counts and determined that state prosecutors failed to prove that Nisbet was operating an illegal rooming house.

Warren did find Nisbet guilty of a misdemeanor fire code violation for the lack of a secondary exit from the third-floor bedroom. The code violation is a Class E misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Nisbet did not take the stand during his week-long trial last month. It’s unclear yet whether he will address the court during his sentencing.

 


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