A jury in the South Australian Supreme Court has convicted the owner of an Adelaide trucking company of manslaughter after an employee lost his life when the brakes on one of the company’s trucks failed, reports the Adelaide Advertiser.
Peter Colbert, owner of Colbert Transport, now faces a maximum lifetime jail sentence for Robert Brimson, who died after the 1994 Mitsubishi Tautliner he was driving crashed in to a pole.
The court heard Colbert was aware of the safety concerns of the vehicle, with a former employee giving evidence he had warned Colbert about the truck’s brakes following “three to four near-misses” while driving it.
The landmark case is believed to be the first time a company owner has been held criminally responsible for an employee’s death because of work-practice negligence.
Cash Converters settles class action for $23 million
Cash Converters has reached an in-principle settlement in a New South Wales class action that has been running since October 2013.
The settlement, announced to shareholders by the ASX-listed company today, is worth $23 million and is subject to approval by the Federal Court. The settlement does not contain an admission of liability.
Cash Converters shares went into a trading halt on Wednesday morning ahead of the settlement being finalised.
The class action was led by Maurice Blackburn on behalf of up to 37,500 NSW Cash Converters customers on low incomes, who had argued they were illegally exploited by the company charging “exorbitant” interest rates.
The action, which was initiated in October 2013, originally sought $40 million in compensation.
Ben Slade, managing principal of Maurice Blackburn in NSW, said in a statement this morning the settlement is a significant victory for participants in the class action.
“This settlement is an excellent outcome for thousands of people who are doing it tough and who shouldn’t have been taken advantage of,” Slade said.
“We expect that Cash Converters’ borrowers in NSW will receive a full refund of the overpayment, plus interest.”
Shares down on open
Local shares appear to have recovered from earlier losses, but are still in negative territory this morning.
“We might see a test of the 5600 level today with potential for a move back up towards the 5700 level should the larger end of the market remain bid into the end of the financial year,” said Mark Lennox, senior private adviser at HC Securities in a statement.
“Tax loss selling is a risk in the top end of the market for the next few weeks, however technically the ASX200 looks poised to retest the June 1 low at 5682.”
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark was down 71 points to 5524.4 points at 12:10pm AEST. On Wednesday, the Dow Jones closed up 0.17%, rising 31.26 points to 17,935.7 points.