Channon injury freak accident

EARTHWORKS contractor Jeffrey Mackney was not convicted of a negligent driving charge causing grievous bodily harm in what was a freak accident involving his tip truck at The Channon that left a man with serious head injuries.

Mackney, 40, of Jiggi, pleaded guilty to the offence in Lismore Local Court earlier this week.

At 10am on August 26 last year Mackney had been driving his Ford Louisville tip truck when the metal tailgate swung open and struck geotechnical expert Richard Thompson in Standing Street outside The Channon pub-lic school where he was working.

Defence lawyer Gary Hooper argued his client had simply made ‘a human error, a mistake’ when he failed to secure the tailgate.

He was in the act of opening it to remove a dozer when told by Mr Thompson that he was not required to work at the job site that day.

Mr Hooper had pleaded for a section 10 bond without conviction, saying there had been no aggravating features in the offence and Mackney had no previousserious convictions and a good traffic record after working in the industry 25 years.

Magistrate Robyn Denes found Mackney guilty, but said although the court would not record a conviction he was ‘not walking away scot-free’.

She said it was a very serious matter in which a man had suffered serious injury, but a significant part of the offence had been human negligence because Mackney had not tied up the tailgate.

Ms Denes said she agreed with Mr Hooper that there had been noaggravating features and Mackney had an almost unblemished traffic record.

In police facts before the court Mackney was contracted by the victim to go to The Channonpublic school that morning tocontinue with excavation works.

Mackney had unlocked the tailgate when Mr Thompson began talking to him to say he would not be needed.

When Mackney drove off Mr Thompson raised his hand to wave when the tailgate swung open and struck him on the back of the head.

The impact caused him to be thrown into the rear tray of his ute, knocking him unconscious.

He was taken to Lismore Base Hospital with a fractured nose, eye socket fractures, broken teeth, cracked ribs and several deep facial lacerations, and has since had multiple surgeries including the insertion of a metal plate.

Without proceeding to conviction Ms Denes placed Mackney on an 18-month good behaviour bond.

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