Fortescue bid to halt trial fails

PERTH: A bid by Fortescue Metals Group to avoid trial over the deaths of two workers, one a Gympie man, in a cyclone in Western Australia’s Pilbara region has been thwarted in the Supreme Court.

Killed were Perth mother of two Debra Till, 47, and Craig Allan Raabe, 42, of Gympie. There were also 22 injuries at the camp.

When category five Cyclone George hit the site linking Port Hedland to Fortescue’s first iron ore mine Cloudbreak in March 2007, 275kmh winds broke up temporary accommodation buildings and flattened the area.

Fortescue and several contractors pleaded not guilty in December 2008 to a range of charges, including failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace.

Lawyers for the group had asked Justice John McKechnie to halt the trial in the Perth Magistrates Court and for a higher court to review Magistrate Joe Randazzo’s decision not to drop charges.

In the Supreme Court in Perth yesterday, Justice McKechnie dismissed Fortescue’s applications, meaning the trial will go ahead.

Gympie Times

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