Lismore school to be prosecuted over child's death
THREE years after little Gabriel McBurney died when he was crushed by a gate at Trinity Catholic College in Lismore, his emotionally traumatised family is still fighting for justice.
The five-year-old boy died on October 17, 2005, when a 100-kilogram gate at the school's Brunswick Street entrance rolled free from its restraints and fell on him.
Now WorkCover NSW has announced it is prosecuting the school under the Occupational Health and Safety Act NSW 2000, and the family has also launched a civil case claiming compensation for the psychological injury and trauma they have suffered.
A coroner's inquest in 2006 found the gate was deficient since it had been installed, but that no one had committed an offence for which they would be likely to be charged.
A spokesperson from WorkCover NSW yesterday confirmed it had filed papers to prosecute the school for failing to ensure the health and safety of persons on the school grounds.
The family's solicitor, Ben Crawford, of Somerville Laundry Lomax, said: “[WorkCover] are effectively saying the school has breached the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations, and deserves to be prosecuted.”
Trinity Catholic College principal Brother Peter Carroll yesterday said the school was aware of the prosecution, but that it was not appropriate to make further comment.
The WorkCover matter will go before the Industrial Court of NSW in Sydney on November 13, and the civil case is expected to go before the District Court at Lismore in the next couple of months.
The McBurney family was not available for comment.