Tragedy | 

Construction company seeking charges dismissal after young worker’s death

Just a week beforehand, Matt (24) and his fiancée had sent out ‘save the date’ cards in preparation for their wedding

Matt Campbell and fiance Robyn Newberry

Paul HigginsBelfast Telegraph

A construction company and a council charged with offences following the tragic death of an electrician killed during a storm are to try to have the charges dismissed, a court has heard.

Matt Campbell (24) was working for Lagan Construction at Slieve Gullion Forest Park in Co Armagh as strong winds lashed Northern Ireland during Storm Ali in September 2018.

Just the week beforehand, Matt and his fiancée Robyn Newberry had sent out ‘save the date’ cards in preparation for their wedding in August the following year.

On the day tragedy struck, she had collected the couples’ wedding rings.

Prosecuting counsel Fiona O’Kane told Newry Magistrates Court on Monday that senior counsel for the two defendants had confirmed to her they would be seeking a Preliminary Investigation before the case against Lagan Construction Ltd and Newry Mourne & Down Council could progress to the Crown Court.

For any case to be elevated to the Crown Court, a judge must be satisfied there is a prima facie case against a defendant and while, in the majority of cases, defence lawyers usually concede there is, lawyers can ask for the PPS to call evidence.

If that evidence does not meet the test, the charges are dismissed.

NMD council and Lagan Construction Ltd were each charged with two offences of breaching health and safety legislation on 19 September 2018.

The council, with their head offices at Downshire Civic Centre in Downpatrick, and Lagan Construction Ltd, with offices on the Sydenham Road in Belfast, are both charged with failing to make appropriate risk assessments for non-employees and employees respectively.

They are also charged with failing to ensure, so far as would be reasonable practicable, to ensure the health and safety of employees and non-employees.

Mrs O’Kane told District Judge Trevor Browne that while no witnesses would need to be called to testify at the PI, there would be written and “brief oral submissions”.

The PI is scheduled to begin on 15 May.

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