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Prosecution Details

Defendant Derek Robert Murray
Trading Name Not applicable
Section 20(1)(b) and 20(4)
Regulation Not applicable
Offence Date Saturday, 2 January 1999
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employee, failed to take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the safety of another person, through his act of reversing a prime mover onto a trailer.

Background Details

The defendant is employed by a transport company. At the time of the offence the defendant was driving a prime mover truck towing two trailers loaded with grain. The route required the truck to be driven down Bedfordale Hill. The Main Roads Department requires that trailers be transported down the Hill one at a time.

In order to achieve this, a truck known as a Block Truck waits at the top of the hill. The rear trailer on the prime over is unhitched and attached to the Block Truck. Both vehicles proceed down the hill to a car park area where the trailer attached to the Block Truck trailer is unhitched and re-attached to the Prime Mover.

Shortly after midnight on 2 January 1999, the defendant (who was driving the Prime Mover) and another employee, who was driving the Block Truck, arrived in the car park area. The trailer attached to the Block Truck was successfully unhitched and a piece of wood was placed under the draw bar of the trailer in order to keep the draw bar at an appropriate height. The Block Truck was driven out of the way.

The defendant began to reverse the Prime Mover towards the trailer that had just been unhitched from the Block Truck. The other employee noticed that the draw bar of the trailer was too low and signalled to the defendant to stop while he adjusted the hieght of the draw bar on the trailer. The defendant stopped the Prime Mover and the other employee seized the towing ring at the end of the trailer draw bar in order to raise it to an appropriate height. Almost immediately thereafter the other employee screamed in pain as the Prime Mover was reversed crushing the fingers of his right hand between the towing ring on the draw bar of the trailer and the ring feeder on the trailer attached to the Prime Mover.

As a result of the incident the employee's right little finger and the tip of his right middle finger were amputated and his right ring finger was severly crushed.

The prosecution was initially heard at trial on 8 June 2000 and dismissed. The department sought and was granted leave to appeal. The matter was heard in the Supreme Court before the Hon Justice Miller who found the defendant guilty. Sentencing took place in the Armadale Court of Petty Sessions. The penalty was imposed under section 20(4).

Lead Image
Outcome Summary


Conviction Date 29 Sep 2000
Court Armadale Court of Petty Sessions & Supreme Court
Fine $750
Costs $500
Charge Number 1760/00