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Sentencing over rubbish truck death

21 October 2016
Sentencing over rubbish truck death

Auckland Council is one of three parties fined today in the North Shore District Court over the death of a rubbish contractor in Birkenhead last August.

Jane Devonshire, 19, died on Hebe Place when she was working as a runner on a rubbish truck operated by Onyx Group Limited. The investigation carried out following the crash found that the brakes on the truck failed, causing it to roll off the road.

The council pleaded guilty to a charge under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure that no employee of a contractor was harmed while carrying out their work.

At today’s sentencing, the council was issued with a $33,000 fine and ordered to pay a share of reparation to Jane’s family.

The court determined council’s share be 15 per cent of the overall $120,000 in reparation ordered to the family, however because one defendant has entered a not guilty plea, they will be dealt with separately.

Onyx Group Limited (now Veolia) and its maintenance company, N P Dobbe, were also charged in relation to the crash. They were also sentenced today and were fined $65,000 and $22,000 and ordered to pay 35 per cent and 25 per cent of the reparation respectively.

The driver of the vehicle will receive a total payment of $25,236 in reparation, also to be shared in the same proportions among all of the parties.
Auckland Council Chief Executive Stephen Town says the council family continues to extend its sympathies to Jane’s family, who have suffered the devastating loss of a much-loved daughter and sister.

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“First and foremost, our thoughts today go out to Jane’s family and friends. Throughout this ordeal they have shown incredible strength in such tragic circumstances and we hope they can now begin to move forward and start rebuilding their lives,” says Mr Town.

“Our thoughts are also with the driver and his family.”

Mr Town says the council takes health and safety very seriously and has reviewed its processes to ensure its contract management includes oversight of the maintenance of trucks used to collect rubbish and recycling. This includes periodic audits of contractors’ maintenance plans.

“As a council, our work is not over. While we have already made significant changes in the wake of this tragedy, we will continue to monitor our processes to ensure they are the best they can be so that an avoidable accident involving one of our staff or contractors never happens again,” he says.


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