Gumlu grower fights charges after worker death
A GUMLU farmer is fighting allegations he failed to comply with health and safety requirements after the death of a worker.
Desmond Percy Chapman appeared by phone at Bowen Magistrates Court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with a health and safety duty and exposing an individual to a risk of death or serious injury.
The court heard the offence was allegedly committed between February 1 and March 18, 2019.
Chap Pak Pty Ltd, a company that operates Rocky Ponds Produce, is also facing the same charge but the timing was limited to on or around March 18.
As a director of Chap Pak Pty Ltd, Mr Chapman also entered a not guilty plea for the company.
A worker died at Rocky Ponds Produce in March 2019 sparking a Workplace Health and Safety investigation.
Lawyer Lisa Parker appeared by phone for the 64-year-old man, estimating a trial could take four to five days.
She said the witness list and availability still needed to be confirmed.
"There are a number of witnesses that reside outside this jurisdiction and possibly out of the country," Ms Parker said.
"Some of those English isn't their first language.
"There is some difficulty with establishing a duration for the trial without knowing that witness availability."
Aimee Sanderson from the Queensland Workplace Health and Safety Prosecutions office also appeared by phone for the matter and estimated the trial would take about two days, three at the most.
She said there were 14 witnesses on the list so far, but there was hope that could be reduced.
Ms Parker said legal counsel had been briefed for the matter and they weren't available until June.
But Magistrate James Morton stressed "this is not a court of convenience" and the matter needed to be listed as soon as possible.
"Justice delayed is justice denied," he said.
"This matter has been dragging on way too long."
The matter will be mentioned again on February 16 and Mr Morton set down the hearing for Tuesday, March 23, taking into consideration it could run until Friday.