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Family kept waiting on the cause of their son's death

TRAGEDY: The Garrels family (from left) Lee, Michael, Georgia, Lachlan and Gemma outside Mackay Courthouse after an investigation into the death of Jason Garrels.
TRAGEDY: The Garrels family (from left) Lee, Michael, Georgia, Lachlan and Gemma outside Mackay Courthouse after an investigation into the death of Jason Garrels.

MICHAEL and Lee Garrels are still waiting for answers on the workplace death of their son, Jason, who was electrocuted more than two years ago at Clermont in North Queensland.

The parents have since moved to Gympie, finding it too painful to remain in Clermont after Jason was killed, just short of his 21st birthday, on February 27, 2012.

Jason was nine days into his new job as a trades assistant for Daytona Trading Pty Ltd.

THE wheels of justice have ground slowly for the Garrels, who found the Building Services Authority was still unaware of the tragedy almost 17 months later.

Daytona has been accused of failing to discharge an electrical safety obligation and yesterday lost a lengthy fight to have the charge dropped.

The Mackay Industrial Magistrates Court last December dismissed an application by the company to have the charge struck out or to have "further and better particulars provided".

An appeal against that decision was partly dismissed by Industrial Court president Justice Glenn Martin, who upheld the legitimacy of the charge but ordered the additional information be provided.

Subcontracting electrical company Cold Spark Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing in a safety obligation and was fined $90,000 plus costs and with no conviction recorded.

The court heard that Cold Spark director Nathan Brian Day knew there was a problem, but that the area where Jason was working had not been isolated from the power source to the unit block switchboard he was working on.

Jason's family has since relocated to Gympie, finding it too painful to remain in Clermont after his death.

Father Michael Garrels said he and wife, Lee, were happy Justice Martin upheld the original decision not to strike out the charge but didn't understand the need for more particulars.

In a decision published yesterday, Justice Martin said the request for further information concerned the principle that "a defendant is entitled to know what breaches are alleged".

Mr and Mrs Garrels have been campaigning to achieve changes to the Coroner's Act 2003, which states an official inquest cannot begin until all other legal proceedings have been finalised.

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