Truck driver not guilty

Isis Town and Country - - News - By CAROLYN ARCHER

THE brother of a man killed in a crash on the Bruce Hwy has ac­cused Lind­say Broth­ers trans­port com­pany of “play­ing Rus­sian roulette” with driv­ers’ lives.

For­mer Lind­say Broth­ers truck driver Maxwell Rice, 56, was found not guilty in the Bund­aberg Dis­trict Court of dan­ger­ous op­er­a­tion caus­ing death in re­la­tion to the Novem­ber 21, 2012, crash at Ap­ple Tree Creek.

Fran­cis Wan­rooy’s brother Tris­tan was killed when the ute in which he was a pas­sen­ger was driven into and over by Mr Rice’s truck.

Dur­ing the trial Mr Rice gave ev­i­dence that the brakes had failed.

Fol­low­ing the not guilty ver­dict, Mr Wan­rooy said while it was not the out­come his fam­ily was af­ter, they were happy the trial was over.

“We know Mr Rice was in­volved with the ac­tual ac­ci­dent but it was Lind­say Broth­ers who knew about the brakes, who knew that truck was faulty and wasn’t 100% road­wor­thy and they are the ones who put it on the road,” he said.

“It’s not up to the driv­ers to make sure these ve­hi­cles are 100% road­wor­thy, it’s up to Lind­say Broth­ers.

“So I have one ques­tion for Lind­say Broth­ers: When are you go­ing to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for your ac­tions?

“How many ve­hi­cles are on the road right now that are un­road­wor­thy, just play­ing Rus­sian roulette with ev­ery­one’s lives?”

Mr Wan­rooy said his fam­ily was un­de­cided at this stage whether they would seek fur­ther ac­tion against the com­pany.

De­fence lawyer Ed­wina Rowan made a com­ment on Mr Rice’s be­half as her client left the court with his fam­ily.

“Mr Rice is glad this is over for both fam­i­lies and his deep­est sym­pa­thy is with the fam­ily of Mr Wan­rooy,” she said.

In clos­ing ar­gu­ments, de­fence bar­ris­ter James God­bolt had told the jury that “what we know is that the prime mover seized at the time – its brakes were in bad shape”.

“Was it his reg­u­lar truck? No, he’d never driven it be­fore,” he said

“Was he al­lowed to in­spect the brakes? No.

“There is a big dif­fer­ence be­tween think­ing some­thing is not quite right here, and be­ing aware of what de­fects were ac­tu­ally in play.”

Mr God­bolt said in or­der to find Mr Rice guilty, the jury had to be sat­is­fied Mr Rice was aware that the truck shouldn’t have been on the road.

He told the jury they might think Lind­say Trans­port should be the one on trial.

“But you don’t take that out on Mr Rice,” he said.

Lind­say Trans­port was con­tacted for com­ment but did not re­turn the NewsMail’s calls.

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