'Another step on the road to justice'
By Will Jackson
FOR Greg McBurney the inquest into his son Gabriel's death was 'just another step on the road to justice'.
While it was a victory of sorts, Mr McBurney said the inquiry provided no closure.
Coroner Nick Reimer handed down his findings on Monday, recommending Trinity Catholic College Lismore overhaul its occupational health and safety systems after a faulty steel gate at the school rolled free from its restraints on October 17, 2005, crushing Gabriel, 5.
The Coroner said the gate was deficient when installed and never properly fixed.
Mr McBurney said he planned to sue the school and Mr Reimer's findings strengthened his civil case.
In particular, he pointed to the finding there was 'sufficient knowledge and experience as to the malfunction in the gates and the inherent danger they posed during 2004 and leading up to the incident on October 17, 2005, to have caused the management of Trinity Catholic College Lismore to have acted to remedy those problems'.
"It wasn't an 'unforeseeable accident' and I think the Coroner's report makes that very clear," Mr McBurney said.
Mr McBurney said he was worried in the lead-up to and during the inquest that he wouldn't be taken seriously and have his concerns listened to. The inquest was only held at the request of the McBurney family. Neither WorkCover NSW nor the police had asked for one.
"I thought because I was a grieving father they would just write me off," he said. "But this result has justified my fight. There were truths that came out that wouldn't have otherwise. The Coroner has done a very good job."
Mr Mcburney said it would be a long time before his family would recover from its loss.