30 Apr 2015

Council told to pay $94,500 over boy's death

3:46 pm on 30 April 2015

Hastings District Council has been fined and ordered to pay reparations totalling $94,500 after admitting a workplace safety breach in relation to the death of a four-year-old boy who was run over by a tractor mower.

Uetaha Ransfield-Wanoa was killed in Kirkpatrick Park in October 2013.

The council was sentenced in Hastings District Court today after accepting it failed to take all practicable steps to make sure its employee did not act in a way which could harm another person.

Judge Rea imposed reparation of $65,000 for emotional harm to Uetaha's family and a fine of $29,500. The amounts were in addition to $12,000 the council has already paid the boy's family.

The council said it had reviewed operating procedures for all mower operators and improved training and supervision following the accident.

Judge Rea said the council, from Mayor Lawrence Yule down, had expressed nothing but sorrow and remorse for what happened and were determined it would not happen again.

Council acting chief executive John O'Shaughnessy said it acknowledged more should have been done to keep Uetaha safe, and that the council had worked hard to ensure such a tragedy never happened again.

The tractor driver, 73-year old Ross Pollock, pleaded guilty in May 2014 to driving a vehicle dangerously and was sentenced to six months' home detention and 100 hours' community work. He was also ordered to pay $5000 reparation.

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