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19 Mar 2018 2:32
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  •   Home > News > Living & Travel

    Truck-leasing firm fined $110k after death

    Truck Leasing Ltd, owners of a truck that caused the death of a rubbish collector in north Auckland, have been hit with a $110,000 fine, plus reparations.

    A truck-leasing company has been slugged with a $110,000 fine and ordered to pay almost $50,000 in reparations after one of its vehicle's brakes failed, causing the death of a rubbish collector.

    Jane Devonshire was crushed to death in August 2015 when the truck she was working on rolled off the road in north Auckland and plunged down a bank.

    The 19-year-old Devonshire was standing on the cab as the brakes failed.

    The truck was owned by Truck Leasing Ltd, who leased the vehicle to contractors Onyx Group Ltd, carrying out rubbish collection on behalf of Auckland Council.

    A vehicle maintenance company, N P Dobbe, serviced the trucks.

    All four parties were charged for their culpability in Ms Devonshire's death and for violations of the Health and Safety in Employment act, but only the former - Truck Leasing Ltd - entered a not guilty plea.

    The latter three parties received a combined total of $120,000 worth of fines, with reparations of a similar quantity on top.

    Truck Leasing Ltd argued they could not be held responsible for serious defections in the Sterling vehicle's braking system or its substandard servicing.

    However they were found guilty last month of failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the truck was maintained, and were sentenced on Friday.

    Judge Robert Ronayne said the company's cost-consciousness and financial pressures overrode any importance they may have placed on safety.

    They had repeatedly failed to repair vehicles at the end of their serviceable lives, particularly the trucks' brakes, and attempted to cut costs.

    The company's fleet of vehicles ultimately shouldn't have been on the road, the judge said.

    "Necessary repairs to the brakes of the vehicle were overlooked about two weeks before the crash," Judge Ronayne told the court.

    "Truck Leasing Ltd had ongoing knowledge of faulty brakes, and skipped services.

    "They had a philosophy of altogether avoiding costs where possible."

    Judge Ronayne duly fined Truck Leasing Ltd $110,000 on Friday, with reparations of $36,000 to go to the Devonshire family.

    A sum of $11,000 would also go to the truck driver, whose complaints about the vehicle had fallen upon deaf ears before the incident.

    "It's simply not realistic for Truck Leasing Ltd to effectively deny knowledge of what was going on," Judge Ronayne said.


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