The company would have been fined $400,000 if it had not pleaded guilty

The company would have been fined $400,000 if it had not pleaded guilty

The company that put advertising signage on a Melbourne wall that collapsed and killed three people has been fined $250,000.Siblings Bridget and Alexander Jones and Frenchwoman Marie-Faith Fiawoo died after the freestanding brick wall fell onto Swanston Street in the CBD in March 28, 2013.Aussie Signs Pty Ltd were handed a $250,000 fine in the County Court of Victoria on Thursday after pleading guilty to one charge of failing to ensure people were not exposed to risk.’The breach by the company is of the most serious kind,’ Judge David Parsons said.Grocon Victoria Street Pty Ltd owned the site and commissioned the construction of the advertising cladding.The 3.2m-high hoarding was up to 70cm taller than the freestanding brick wall it was attached to, the court heard.The subsidiary of construction giant Grocon was also fined $250,000 after pleading guilty to failing to provide a safe workplace.Aussie Signs’ defence lawyer had earlier argued the company was in a ‘lesser position’ than Grocon Victoria Street Pty Ltd, but Judge Parsons did not agree.’There is a broad equivalence of seriousness,’ he said on Thursday.Prosecutors could not prove the wall would not have collapsed if the advertising hoarding had not been attached to it, but the hoarding increased the risk the wall would collapse, the court heard.There were strong winds on the day of the fatal collapse, though the exact wind speed at the site was unknown.Judge Parsons said Aussie Signs had not obtained a risk assessment in relation to wind loading.The sign company had also failed to ensure that Grocon Victoria had a building permit for the project.He said Aussie Signs had been a ‘good corporate citizen’ prior to the incident, and there was true remorse.During a plea hearing last month the company apologised to the loved ones of the three killed the day the wall fell, saying it wanted to acknowledge the deaths and extend its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who died.The company would have been fined $400,000 if it had not pleaded guilty, Judge Parsons said. – See more at:

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