15 Dec 2018

Court of Appeal upholds Talley's charge

8:17 am on 15 December 2018

Talley's has had a charge against it upheld by the Court of Appeal after one of its workers was left a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair three years ago.

09082016. Photo Rebekah Parsons-King. Pike River families want mine's CEO to face charges. Court of Appeal Wellington.

The Court of Appeal Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Te Atatū Hēmi was struck by a bulk bin which fell off a forklift at a Talley's vegetable processing plant in Fairton near Ashburton on 22 May, 2015.

Worksafe charged Talley's with breaching the Health and Safety in Employment Act and said it had failed to take all practicable steps to ensure that Ms Hēmi was, while at work, not exposed to hazards arising out of the operation of the forklift at the plant.

However Worksafe lost its case in the District Court with the judge ruling the charge sheet was defective because it was missing information.

The judge agreed with Talley's that this meant they were not fully informed of their offending and the charging document was non-compliant.

Worksafe took an appeal to the High Court where that ruling was overturned.

The High Court judge agreed the charging sheet was defective, but said it could be remedied.

Talley's and Worksafe then took the case to the Court of Appeal to each dispute questions of law from the High Court ruling.

Worksafe said it believed the charging document complied with standards, which the Court of Appeal found it did not.

Regardless, the charge itself against Talley's was not dropped.

The High Court's decision was upheld.