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Owners of ride in Royal Adelaide Show fatality ‘exposed’ riders to serious harm

Owners of ride in Royal Adelaide Show fatality ‘exposed’ riders to serious harm
July 5, 2016

The owners of the AirMaxx 360 ride which was involved in a fatal incident at the 2014 Royal Adelaide Show ride failed to ensure they had the right minimum height requirements and did not properly train workers how to safely run it, according to South Australian Industrial Court documents.

South Australian prosecutors allege that C, J & Sons Amusements Pty Ltd, the Queensland-based company that owned the ride, “exposed” eight-year-old Adelene Leong to “death or serious injury” when she was ejected from her seat during operation.

SafeWork SA has charged the company, and its Victorian-based directors, with 10 counts of breaching health and safety laws over her September 2014 fatality.

The co-Directors, Jenny-Lee Sullivan and Clinton Watkins, are the second group to face charges after Adelene was flung from the ride to her death during a family holiday from Malaysia.

The 'Category 1' offence, the first to be prosecuted in South Australia, carries a maximum penalty of five years’ jail and a $300,000 fine for the individual, and a $1.5 million fine for the business.

Industrial Court documents allege a series of errors by the owners, who SafeWork SA accuse of undertaking flawed “due diligence” to ensure the machine met safety standards.

SafeWork SA alleges failings included not determining the appropriate height clearance for patrons was 140cm, and not the 120cm it enforced, which investigators found Adelene “well and truly met”.

The company also failed to provide or enforce procedures whereby ticket booth operators and deck hands checked minimum heights or had proper communications between spotters and the console operator in an emergency, it alleges.

Workers were also not banned from using mobile phones while the ride was moving, according to SafeWork SA’s statement of summons, filed with the court.

It further alleges workers did not secure showgoers’ harnesses properly and failed to implement any system that prevented movement or double checked patrons.

The company, it adds, failed to engage an “appropriately competent person” to conduct yearly reviews and kept poor records.

Faulty lock cylinders, meanwhile, contained “contaminant”, wrong oil and trapped air, while the ride’s electronic systems were also defective.

Sullivan and Watkins are due to face the Court for the first time on the charges in August.

Safe is Safe Pty Ltd, the company that inspected the ride, and its Director Hamish Munro, who verified the apparent safety of the ride, are facing separate prosecution.

However, in Court last week , Safe is Safe's lawyers challenged the legality of the charges laid against it.

The defendants are accused of breaching their health and safety duty by exposing patrons of the ride to the risk of death or serious injury.

It is alleged the defendants failed to properly inspect the ride and its restraint harnesses before certifying it safe for use.

If found guilty, the company faces a maximum penalty of a $3 million fine while  Munro is facing a maximum penalty of $600,000 fine and or five years imprisonment.

In the South Australian Industrial Court the prosecutor acting on behalf of SafeWork SA, Stephanie Halliday, said the defendants were challenging the validity of the charges.

Halliday stated "issues have been raised by the defendants in relation to whether the charges laid are in fact offences under the law.

"Obviously that's something that's in everyone's best interests to be determined promptly."

Gracie Johnston, for the defendants, confirmed that was the defence position.

The matter was listed for legal argument on 25th July.

Image: Adelene Leong died after being flung from a ride at the Royal Adelaide Show in 2014. (Courtesy of SA Police)

15th June 2016 - RIDE OWNERS CHARGED OVER ROYAL ADELAIDE SHOW FATALITY

5th September 2015 - SAFETY A PRIORITY AS THE ROYAL ADELAIDE SHOW OPENS

2nd September 2015 - SAFEWORK SA COMPLETES INVESTIGATION INTO 2014 ROYAL ADELAIDE SHOW RIDE DEATH

15th September 2014 - FATALITY AND SECOND RIDE INCIDENT OVERSHADOW FINAL DAYS OF ROYAL ADELAIDE SHOW 

12th September 2014 - CHILD DIES AFTER FALL FROM RIDE AT ROYAL ADELAIDE SHOW


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