South Australia Government drops charges against Royal Adelaide Hospital builder over 2014 death of worker Jorge Castillo-Riffo
THE devastated partner of a worker killed on the new Royal Adelaide Hospital site has taken aim at the State Government for dropping charges against its builder just three days before the trial into his death.
Jorge Castillo-Riffo, 54, was fatally crushed in November 2014 while working on a scissor lift on the $2 billion project.
But yesterday the Government told his partner Pam Gurner-Hall, of Aldinga, it had dropped all charges against lead contractor HYLC and Mr Castillo-Riffo’s employer SRG Building (Southern) for alleged workplace safety breaches.
The matter was listed for a 10-day Industrial Court trial on Monday, but Ms Gurner-Hall now fears she will never know “what actually happened” to her partner of 14 years.
“This was about having Jorge’s story being told, it’s been 27 months and he hasn’t had his story told,” she said, adding that somebody needed to be held accountable for his death.
“I’m gutted because there’s no respect here – no respect for Jorge, no respect for me or … his family.
“How can 27 months go by and and the prosecution not have a strong enough case to prosecute – how does that happen?”
SafeWork SA said the case was dropped “following legal advice” and after SRG entered into a legally binding agreement to improve its procedures, processes and training programs to improve safety.
It would also pay for an annual award in Mr Castillo-Riffo’s name to be presented at the SA Training Awards and expresssed “deep regret” over the death.
Ms Gurner-Hall – who said she would continue to campaign for a Coroner’s inquest into the death – said SRG had shown her a “great deal of respect”, in contrast to HYLC.
“HYLC have been obstructionist, they’ve not been clear or transparent and they’ve not shown any accountability,” she said.
CFMEU assistant secretary Jim O’Connor said it was a “disgrace” that SafeWork SA had dropped all charges.
“Someone has gone to work and paid the ultimate price and 27 months down the track what are we getting?” he said.
SRG said it had been “deeply impacted” by Mr Castillo-Riffo’s death and “sincerely regrets” the incident occurred.
SafeWork SA’s decision to drop charges over Mr Castillo-Riffo’s death comes almost a year after father of two, Stephen Wyatt, 63, died in a similar accident on the new RAH site.
The Advertiser has sought comment from HYLC.