Gippsland company pleads guilty for worker’s death

An unroadworthy truck led to the crushing death of a garbo, with a Gippsland garbage company pleading guilty in the County Court.

The grieving family of a man crushed by his own garbage truck have told a court they are still “haunted” by memories.

Country Cart Pty Ltd faced the County Court on Friday, pleading guilty to two counts of failing to provide a safe work environment after they let employee Brian Rintoule drive an unroadworthy truck with faulty brakes.

Family wrote in their victim impact statements the tragic and avoidable death of Brian Rintoule had an “immeasurable” effect on their lives.

On April 9, 2019, Mr Rintoule was working as a truck driver for Country Cart in Leongatha, where he drove rubbish collection trucks.

He completed his garbage run and then went to collect bins which hadn’t been collected the day before.

Mr Rintoule wasn’t found until the next day when a co-worker showed up for work and couldn’t find the truck he was meant to be driving — the same one Mr Rintoule had taken the day before.

Employees called every house on Mr Rintoule’s route to ask if their bins had been collected, before driving out to the last house where they were confronted with the sight of Mr Rintoule’s lifeless body slouched over the property’s gate.

An inspection by VicRoads revealed the truck was unroadworthy due to several defects including faulty brakes and was overdue for all required services, by about double the kilometre tracker.

Almost a week before the incident another employee had noted the parking brake was faulty. It was taken to be fixed but it became evident it had not been fixed correctly.

In a statement to the court, Mrs Rintoule said she had lost her “husband and her best friend”.

“I would not wish this pain on anyone,” she said.

Best mate Stuart Hore was part of the SES team called to help with the extraction of the body, an experience he told the court had left permanent scars.

“I never thought I would be called out to deal with my best mate,” he said.

Mr Rintoule’s sister-in-law Vicki Hankenson said in her statement “Brian never had a bad word to say about anyone”.

“He was the love of Mandy’s life, he lived for his family,” she said.

“I remember the day we found out like it was yesterday. The memories still haunt me even now the nightmares have subsided.”

Defence barrister Garry Livermore KC said the company “didn’t know how this had happened”.

“We cannot explain what went wrong,” Mr Livermore said.

Sally Flynn KC and Duncan Chisholm for the prosecution told the court they didn’t believe sufficient remorse had been shown.

“Regret and remorse are two different concepts. There is no doubt they regret it deeply,” Ms Flynn said.

Sentencing will occur at a later date.

Source: Herald Sun

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