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Rueben Barnes' family label boss' sentence a 'joke'

Rueben Barnes
Rueben Barnes

FAMILY members of 16-year-old Rueben Barnes, who was fatally electrocuted at work in 2009, have labelled the three-month jail sentence handed down to his former employer a "joke".

Christopher Leonard Jackson put in an early guilty plea to perjury offences committed during the coronial inquest into the death, and was sentenced to 18 months' jail with a parole release date of May 7 in the Rockhampton District Court on February 8.

Rueben was working on a "botched" home insulation scheme when he was electrocuted in the roof of a house near Rockhampton in 2009, during his third week on the job.

Jackson, who was the Arrow Property Maintenance co-director at the time, told the 2013 inquest he had inspected the Stanwell work site on the morning of Rueben's death.

He had reportedly told Coroner Michael Barnes he went up a ladder and did a "hand check" before leaving Rueben with two other workers. But police later alleged Jackson lied to the coroner and did not actually inspect the site, and Coroner Barnes referred Jackson to the Director of Public Prosecutions for potential perjury charges.

He found Jackson might have lied about his inspection of the work site and failed to fill out a work method statement that listed the risks at the site.

Bill Potts, who was acting for Rueben's father Murray Barnes during the inquest, said he had also put forward a recommendation that Jackson be charged with perjury.

"I can say that at the end of the coronial inquest I made a submission, as did the council assisting, that Jackson be charged with perjury as a result of the evidence," he said yesterday.

"The decision to jail someone is recognition that people who give evidence in any court proceedings have an obligation to tell the truth no matter how painful, embarrassing and shameful.

"In these circumstances, the public must understand that lying to a coroner - particularly in circumstances relating to the death of a 16-year-old boy who was electrocuted on his third week of work - about the safety training and the mechanisms of dealing with the incident is of the utmost seriousness."

It is believed Jackson's company went bankrupt following Rueben's death when they were fined for electrical safety offences.

The family of Rueben was approached for further comment but could not be reached prior to print.

Tuesday: THE former employer of 16-year-old Rueben Barnes, who was fatally electrocuted at work in 2009, has been sentenced to jail time in a Rockhampton court.

Christopher Leonard Jackson was sentenced to 18 months jail in the Rockhampton District Court on February 8 with a parole release date of May 7 after pleading guilty to perjury offences committed during the coronial inquest into the death.

Rueben was working on a "botched" home insulation scheme when he was electrocuted in the roof of a house near Rockhampton in 2009, during his third week on the job.

Jackson, who was the Arrow Property Maintenance co-director at the time, told the 2013 inquest he had inspected the Stanwell work site on the morning of Rueben's death.


But police later alleged Jackson lied to the coroner and did not actually inspect the site, and Coroner Barnes referred Jackson to the Director of Public Prosecutions for potential perjury charges.


He found Jackson might have lied about his inspection of the work site and failed to fill out a work method statement that listed the risks at the site.
 

Topics:  editors picks, electrocution, home insulation scheme, rockhampton district court, rueben barnes




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