The boss of a construction business in Australia who fled the country during a WorkCover probe into his company has been found and extradited back to face charges of manslaughter, media reports say.
A report in the Sydney Morning Herald says KLA Bricklaying director Wayne Moore left Australia during a WorkCover probe into the death of 62-year-old bricklayer David Hands, who was killed at a Bondi building site in when a three-metre freestanding brick wall came crashing down on him as he crouched over his toolbox.
At the time, construction union organiser Martin Wyer described the incident at the time as an accident waiting to happen and accused the company of malpractice.
Moore left Australia in the midst of WorkCover investigations – a police warrant for his arrest was issued in 2005 – which were subsequently stalled. Despite the investigations being put on hold, property developer Innovative Properties and its two directors were fined a total of $180,000 with regard to the incident.
Now, an eight-year search for Moore has finally ended after he was found in his birthplace of Britain following a police tip.
Both Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (NSW branch) president Rita Mallia and Workers Health Centre director Dave Henry believe this is the first time in the state a manslaughter charge has been laid over an industrial death. Mallia said even maximum fines were uncommon in these cases.
“Again, that’s another source of frustration for families like Mr Hands’ that have paid the ultimate price,” she says.
The case follows the deaths in Melbourne earlier this year of pedestrians Marie-Faith Fiawoo, Bridget Jones and her brother Alexander after a freestanding wall at a Grocon site collapsed as they were walking past.
In that case, it was later learned that Grocon had erected an advertising board which extended above the wall without permission to do so.