Three men and two companies charged over the death of a worker who was crushed by a falling crane will fight the allegations at a marathon hearing late next year.
Nine parties were charged over the incident in which Herman Holtz, 62, was killed at the University of Canberra Hospital construction site in Bruce in August 2016.
The first to be dealt with was the crane driver, Michael John Watts, who was sentenced in the ACT Supreme Court earlier this year to a suspended 12-month jail term.
Watts, 48, admitted that the mobile crane had tipped after he repeatedly overrode safety mechanisms and ignored warning alarms to continue operating the machine while it was overloaded.
He was initially charged with manslaughter, but negotiated a deal to plead guilty to the lesser offence of engaging in reckless conduct that exposed Mr Holtz to the risk of death or serious injury.
The other eight parties charged with serious work health and safety breaches over the fatality were:
- Mr Holtz's employer and the project's principal contractor, Multiplex Constructions;
- Multiplex chief executive John Flecker;
- Multiplex site manager Benjamin De Bono;
- Multiplex senior site supervisor Andrew Drummond;
- Multiplex health and safety representative Munro Jones;
- Watts' employer, subcontractor RAR Cranes;
- RAR Cranes dogman Paul Kelly; and
- RAR Cranes director Jeffrey Rumble.
In the ACT Industrial Court last month, Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker dismissed the charges against Mr Flecker, Mr De Bono and Mr Jones.
The decision followed prosecutor Kylie Weston-Scheuber indicating she had no evidence to offer against that trio.
Lawyers for Multiplex, Mr Drummond, RAR Cranes, Mr Rumble and Mr Kelly returned to court on Thursday morning, when their charges were set down for a four-week contested hearing.
The hearing has been listed to begin on October 18, 2021, meaning it will have been more than five years since Mr Holtz's death by the time it starts.
Ms Walker said the timing was less than desirable.
"This matter should have been listed for hearing long ago ... but it is what it is," she said.