Guilty plea brings long-running Worksafe prosecution to an end

Dallas Hickey died in February 2014 after the logging truck he was driving left the road. Photo/File
Dallas Hickey died in February 2014 after the logging truck he was driving left the road. Photo/File

An unexpected guilty plea from a transport operator yesterday has bought a long-running Worksafe prosecution to an end.

A hearing, following the death of a logging truck driver Dallas Hickey, 51, had already run for about a month. It had twice been adjourned, most recently in March this year when transport operator James Walter Beau Thompson was still under cross-examination.

It was set to resume in Gisborne District Court yesterday, when Thompson's lawyer Paul White confirmed Thompson would plead guilty to one of four charges - that being an agent for Hawke Equipment he participated in the company's failure to take all practicable steps to ensure no harm came to its contractor Dallas Wayne Hickey.

As a result of the guilty plea, Worksafe elected not to pursue three other charges - a similar one against Hawke Equipment and two similar alternative charges that Thompson and Hawke made failings as an employer of Mr Hickey.

Judge Warren Cathcart agreed to withdraw the charges.

A revised summary of facts focused on the lack of health and safety training and induction given to Mr Hickey, who was on his second day of the job.

Judge Cathcart remanded Thompson at large for sentence, expected to take half a day on May 10. Thompson's offer to undergo a restorative justice process was declined by Mr Hickey's family.

He faces a penalty of up to $250,000 with potential additional payments to the family for emotional harm and for prosecution costs.

-gisborneherald.co.nz

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