Son can rest easy now case over

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Jen­nifer Gear knows her son Christo­pher will be at peace now the six year court bat­tle over his death is com­ing to an end.

In 2008, the for­mer Toko­roa res­i­dent and another worker Steve Sayer fell off scaf­fold­ing and plunged 26 storeys to their deaths.

Last Mon­day Karim­bla Con­struc­tion Ser­vices pleaded guilty to one count of fail­ure to dis­charge a work­place health and safety obli­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to the Gold Coast Bulletin .

It was fined $ 25,000 and or­dered to pay $ 5760.80 in court costs and in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Gear said it is the sec­ond to last court case after what has been an emo­tional jour­ney for their fam­ily.

The money ‘‘ won’t bring him back’’, she said, but the end of the court bat­tle would bring her daugh­ter-in-law peace of mind.

‘‘I’d be glad for [her], she’s never strayed from what’s hap­pened.’’

Gear said the lat­est fine was a very small price to pay for the lives of her son and Sayer.

‘‘I def­i­nitely do not think it was enough, es­pe­cially when two lives were lost.’’

But Karim­bla Con­struc­tion Ser­vices was not the only company held ac­count­able for the tragedy.

In 2013 Prime Con­struc­tion Pty Ltd, the pri­mary em­ployer of the men, was con­victed and fined $600,000 for a Work­place Health and Safety Act breach, ac­cord­ing to the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Gear said she could only hope the cir­cum­stances of the ac­ci­dent would shake up health and safety laws on the Gold Coast.

‘‘ I know Myr­iam, my daugh­ter-in-law, would love it to be help­ful for other peo­ple [work­ing there].’’

Gear saw first­hand what her son did for a liv­ing and was in­se­cure with it.

‘‘Peo­ple said to me no mat­ter what, he will be safe.’’

With the fi­nal court case set for next month Gear said she took so­lace know­ing that her son, a fa­ther of two, would be able to rest.

‘‘Be­cause of how I’ve been brought up, when [peo­ple] are buried [we be­lieve] they’re still roam­ing the Earth.’’

Gear de­scribed her son as a ‘‘clever’’ and ‘‘happy’’ boy grow­ing up who was well-loved.

His pop­u­lar­ity in the South Waikato was proven when a sec­ond ser­vice was or­gan­ised in Toko­roa im­me­di­ately after his death. About 300 peo­ple at­tended. ‘‘ It was huge, we weren’t ex­pect­ing it.’’

Gear said the amount of support re­ceived by the com­mu­nity was ‘‘just awe­some.’’

‘‘I just wanted to pay them back by let­ting them know [about the court case].’’

Jen­nifer Gear knows her son Christo­pher will be at peace as the court bat­tle over his death

comes to a close.

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