Support service fined over mental health worker murder

Michael Corkhill cared deeply about clients.
Michael Corkhill cared deeply about clients.

MICHAEL Corkhill was murdered when he visited a patient's home unaccompanied.

The mental health service that allowed Mr Corkhill to visit the patient unaccompanied has been found to have breached a law designed to keep employees safe at work.

Last week On Track Community Programs was convicted in the Industrial Court of New South Wales under Section 8 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 for failing to appropriately protect Mr Corkhill from risks at work in 2007.

In addition to the conviction On Track was fined $115,000 - a reasonably large penalty to be given to a not-for-profit-organisation.

Justice Walton said On Track breached their obligations under the Act as they were aware David Rodriguez, the man charged with Mr Corkhill's murder but later found not guilty on the grounds of mental illness, was at risk of "becoming violent and assaulting employees".

Mr Corkhill's partner of 13 years, Giovanni Cordeiro said he wasn't expecting On Track to receive such a significant penalty but was happier On Track had been held accountable for the "inaction" which contributed to Mr Corkhill's death.

"They've been convicted and held accountable and the fine is just a huge bonus," Mr Cordeiro said.

Mr Corkhill was stabbed by Rodriguez in 2007 when visiting him.

The decision comes after years of investigation by Fair Work Australia.

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