Defence Force convicted over death of soldier
The New Zealand Defence Force was today convicted for its role in the drowning death of Private Michael Ross during a training accident on Lake Moawhango near Waiouru in September last year.
In the Auckland District Court today, the Defence Force pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to ensure Private Ross was not exposed to the hazard of drowning while at work. It was brought by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Health and Safety Group.
The Judge will sentence the Defence force in writing by the end of next week.
As a crown entity, the Defence Force could not be fined (s8(4) of the Crown Organisations (Criminal Liability) Act 2002 applies).
“The Ministry’s investigation identified systemic safety failures around this exercise,” Brett Murray, General Manager High Hazards and Specialist Services for the Ministry said.
“This tragic accident simply should not have happened.
“Like any other employee, Private Ross should have been able to expect that his safety was paramount to his employer –in this case, the NZ Defence Force failed to meet its obligations to him,” Mr Murray said.