News Store
Important notice to all NewStore users. The NewsStore service is now free! Please click here for more information. Help

The Age

Police press Grocon to deliver evidence on fatal wall collapse

Author: Clay Lucas, Royce Millar
Date: 05/12/2013
Words: 410
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: News
Page: 2
Police have asked the Coroners Court to direct construction company Grocon to give evidence about the collapse of a wall in Swanston Street that killed three young pedestrians in March.

Nine months after the wall on Grocon's CUB Brewery site fell, killing Bridget Jones, her brother Alexander and academic Dr Marie-Faith Fiawoo, police have been frustrated by Grocon's reluctance to give evidence.

At least two Grocon employees or subcontractors have refused in writing to give evidence to a police investigation into the collapse. And 14 Grocon personnel and subcontractors, who were on the site soon after the collapse, have not given evidence to police.

"None of these persons have actually made statements in relation to their attendance at the site," said Sergeant Jen Brumby, counsel assisting State Coroner Ian Gray at a hearing on Wednesday morning.

"There are no actual statements supplied by Grocon aside from one statement from a professor related to an archaeological dig that was undertaken on the site."

She said Grocon had not made available an engineering report detailing a bluestone wall also on the CUB site. Grocon agreed to hand the report to police by Friday, after a request by Judge Gray.

Grocon's barrister, Robert Taylor, rejected any criticisms of the company's failure to provide information on key aspects of the investigation. He said Grocon had "received no suggestion from Victoria Police" or any other agency "suggesting that Grocon or any of its entities have not responded either fully or appropriately".

Mr Taylor said two Grocon employees had spoken to WorkSafe investigators, although statements had not been taken from them.

A Grocon spokesman said after the hearing that Wednesday marked the first formal police request for many of the firm's employees, who attended the site on the day of the accident, for a statement.

Sergeant Brumby requested Judge Gray direct Grocon employees or subcontractors to make statements to police by the final week of December.

Grocon succeeded in having suppressed from publication the names of four employees who have not given statements to police and who were named in court.

Judge Gray also criticised WorkSafe for not yet having given police 10 folders of material on the collapse. The wall was the boundary fence of the vacant former CUB Brewery site, owned by Grocon and being developed as an apartment and retail complex. It collapsed in 100km/h-plus winds.

Judge Gray will hold another mention hearing in a fortnight, and has scheduled a two-week inquest next June.

Back  Back to Search Results

Advertise with Us | Fairfax Digital Privacy Policy | Conditions of Use | Member Agreement
© 2017 Fairfax Digital Australia & New Zealand Ltd.