Hastings District Council has pleaded not guilty to a charge
relating to the death of a 4-year-old boy in last year's
The council denied the charge at Hastings District Court
yesterday, relating to section 15 of the Health and Safety in
Employment Act 1992, under which employers need to take all
practicable steps to ensure that no action or inaction of any
employee while at work harms any other person.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of a $250,000 fine.
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said the council had entered a
not guilty plea to ensure "full discovery" of the case, thus
enabling the full disclosure of evidence from the
Government's workplace safety agency, WorkSafe, who is
prosecuting the council.
Despite the not guilty plea the council still had the ability
to change their plea at a later date, he said.
Yesterday's not guilty plea follows last Friday's sentencing
of the council tractor driver for driving a vehicle
dangerously, causing the death of Uetaha Dahtanian
The tragedy occurred at Kirkpatrick Park in Hastings on
October 8, 2013, when Uetaha was run over by the
tractor-mower while chasing the machine and playing with two
other children, aged 10 and 8.
After entering a guilty plea in May, the driver was sentenced
to six months' home detention, 100 hours' community work,
disqualified from driving for three years and ordered to pay
The 73-year-old driver has interim name suppression after his
defence counsel, Andru Isac, appealed against Judge Jonathan
Down's decision to drop name suppression.
The council will next appear for a review hearing in
- By Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today