“the bite of a lion” $5,000 for a life

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LAST week Industrial Magistrate Walker gave her judgment on the death of Geoffrey Blackfella Gowen and fined Adecco Industrial and Sita Australia $5,000 each.

Between them the labour hire company Adecco and the garbage collector SITA had managed to hire the man, give him almost no training, put him in charge of a machine which if slightly mis-handled could kill its operator, and did in this case.

In her judgment Magistrate Walker, writing on the subject of specific deterrence noted:

“The sting of a mosquito is easily forgotten whereas the bite of a lion will remain forever in the memory.”

However because the Director of Public Prosecutions had marked the case for summary disposal the maximum possible fine was $5,000, rather than $750,000.

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