Shepparton News

$1m fine over soldier’s death

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DARWIN: The Defence Department has been fined $1 million for failures that led to a young soldier being fatally shot during an urban warfare exercise in the Northern Territory. Private Jason Challis, 25, from Victoria, was shot in the head and knee at the Mount Bundey military training area in 2017.

The Defence Department was sentenced yesterday in the NT Local Court after previously pleading guilty to failing to comply with its health and safety duty. The penalty is the largest recorded under the Commonweal­th’s work health and safety jurisdicti­on.

The court was told safety procedures should have protected the rif leman, who had joined the army 10 months earlier.

But no-one had noticed he wasn’t with his team in a mock town made of plywood and hessian during the live-fire exercise, and was instead crouching behind a target when two soldiers fired on it.

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