Saturday 24 February 2018

Two men to stand trial after work place fatality

Tom Tuite

A DIRECTOR and a manager of a nightclub in Dublin are pleading not guilty to breaking health and safety laws following the death of a barman who was crushed in a goods lift.

Father-of-two Stephen Hampson (31) from Castlegrange Close in Clondalkin, south Dublin, died on August 23, 2009, after he suffered fatal injuries while working at the Blu Bar in Tallaght, in Dublin.

He had been stuck in a lift and is believed to have been trying to get out when it started to move, causing the injuries which killed him. A coroner's inquest into the cause of his death has already been adjourned until October 12.

A prosecution has been brought against TBC Bar Ltd, the owners of the Blu Bar, at Tuansgate, in Tallaght, as well as one of its directors James Lambert, of Castlelawns Tallaght and manager David McKee of Ellensborough Drive, in Tallaght.

They had been summonsed to appear at Dublin District Court to face charges under the Safety and Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.

The charges allege they failed to manage work activities in particular the use of a Hidral goods lift in a way to ensure the safety of employees.

The Hidral lift was designed for transport of goods only and was being used by people, it is also alleged.

It is also alleged that the lift was used by Mr Hampson who suffered injuries and died.

The nightclub faces accusations of improper conduct likely to put the safety of employees at risk by failing to prevent use of the lift to travel between floors.

It is also alleged that the lift had not been inspected at least once in the six-month period before Mr Hampson's death.

Mr Lambert and Mr McKee are accused of recklessly risking the safety of Mr Hampson by permitting him to use the lift.

Today Judge John O'Neill was told that the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed that the case should only be dealt with in the district court if guilty pleas were entered.

Lawyers for both men indicated that they were pleading not guilty which means they will be tried on indictment before a judge and jury at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge O'Neill ordered them to appear again at the district court on a date in September when they are to be served with books of evidence and returned for trial.

Prosecution counsel Roisin Lacey asked the judge to make a similar order in relation to the TBC Bar Ltd which did not have any representation in court today or on a previous date.

The judge was told that in April a garda had served a summons at the company's address, at Tuansgate, in Tallaght.

Judge O'Neill also agreed to grant legal aid to the two men saying they faced “very serious charges”.

The court heard that Mr Lambert was having difficulty with his mortgage and Mr McKee is on social welfare but allowed to work one day a week, and his mortgage is also in arrears.

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