Australia S. Kidman and Co fined $200,000 over death of Matthew Arena at Helen Springs Station

15:13  16 may  2017
15:13  16 may  2017 Source:   ABC News

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One of Australia' s largest beef producers is fined $ 200 , 000 for failings that led to the death of one of its workers when a metal pole fell from a faulty bobcat.

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Helen Booth, the mother of Matthew Arena, was in court with her husband to hear the sentence. © Provided by ABC News Helen Booth, the mother of Matthew Arena, was in court with her husband to hear the sentence. One of Australia's largest beef producers has been fined $200,000 for failings that led to the death of one of its workers in 2012.

Diesel mechanic Matthew Arena, 24, died after a 353-kilogram metal pole — being lifted by a faulty bobcat — fell on him at a station owned by S. Kidman & Co, north of Tennant Creek.

Prosecutor Mary Chalmers told Darwin Local Court Chief Judge John Lowndes that the pole ruptured the young man's stomach.

"Mr Arena didn't die instantly, if I can put it that way," she said.

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"They were at a location where paramedics aren't able to attend in the usual way and Your Honour can draw the obvious inferences."

Mr Arena was helping staff at Helen Springs Station who were working to modify the nine-metre-long poles into lighting poles for a horse arena.

The works had been done differently the day before, according to a work plan, but on the day of the accident there was a change in staff and the faulty bobcat was used to lift the poles up.

S. Kidman & Co pleaded guilty to failing to comply with health and safety duties five years after the incident.

It had originally fought the prosecution on technical grounds both in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, but failed.

The company's lawyer told the court this week that the pole fell in a "freakish" manner, resulting in a death that was not easily foreseeable.

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© Provided by ABC News Matthew Arena died at Helen Springs Station in 2012. After two years of fighting claims it failed in its duty of care to a worker who died at a Northern Territory cattle station , Gina Rinehart' s company S . Kidman and Co is set to admit guilt, a court has heard.

Diesel mechanic Matthew Arena who worked for S . Kidman and Co was killed in 2012 when a nine-metre pole weighing 354 kilograms fell on him at Helens Springs Station , north of Tennant Creek.

But in sentencing today, Dr Lowndes said the company had clearly failed to ensure a dangerous task was being done safely.

"The defendant should not have worked on the simple assumption that the system that had been followed on the first day would be continued on the second day with a new worker who had arrived at the worksite," Dr Lowndes said.

The court heard the maximum penalty for the offence was $1.5 million.

But Dr Lowndes said the offending was mid-range, and that he took into account the company's "late" guilty plea as well as the "safety-conscious" approach of the company's new owners.

A joint venture led by Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting bought S. Kidman & Co in December.

Mr Arena's mother Helen Booth had travelled from Victoria to be present in court for the sentencing.

Dr Lowndes acknowledged the result, which he said had to take into account a broad range of considerations, could not fully reflect Mrs Booth's loss.

"I fully accept that the mother of Mr Arena would consider that this is the worst type of offence because of the tragic consequences," he said.

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