Trench death decision reserved
Mike Haines was working as a contractor on a Rapurapu Rd farm when the wall of a freshly dug trench collapsed on him.
An engineering company charged over the death of a worker accidentally buried alive in a ditch will have to wait to find out how much it will have to pay out to his family.
Steelcon Construction was due to be sentenced in the High Court in Hamilton on Thursday for three breaches of the Health and Safety in Employment Act in relation to the death of Matamata man Mike Haines in May last year.
The 34-year-old was working as a contractor on a Rapurapu Rd farm when the wall of a freshly dug trench collapsed on him, after he jumped in to work on a dairy effluent pipe join.
Colleagues frantically dug him out, but his condition deteriorated and he died at the scene.
As well as the company, its managing director Rodney Stephen Bishop has also been charged under the act.
He is also facing a charge of manslaughter, on which he is yet to enter a plea.
Bishop was not at court on Thursday. He will next appear in the High Court on December 15, when he has to enter a plea.
Steelcon’s lawyer Jonathan Temm asked the court to note the company’s early guilty plea to the charges.
The company was also fully insured and it was also due credit for that, because it reflected a responsible business practice, he said.
Justice John Fogarty said the level of culpability of Bishop – who had been operating a digger nearby when the collapse happened – needed to be determined.
The amount to be paid in emotional harm reparation is also yet to be resolved.
Justice Fogarty reserved his decision until the end of this week.