17 Nov 2010

Company involved in marae deaths escapes fine

4:22 am on 17 November 2010

A company involved in an accident at a South Auckland marae in which two workers were killed has avoided a fine.

The poor finances of Wiremu Asphalt mean it will pay reparations only.

Judge Jonathan Moses was prepared to issue a fine and order reparations of more than $200,000, but said he needed to carry out a balancing act.

A truck driven by a Wiremu Asphalt worker slid off a track at Manurewa marae in June last year and crashed into a house on supports.

Marsh Peihopa and Waepeke Tupaea were killed. Two others were injured, one of whom can not work as a builder again.

Wiremu Asphalt earlier admitted a charge of not taking steps to ensure safety.

Judge Moses said in Manukau District Court on Tuesday that it is a tragic case with tragic consequences and ordered that reparations only be paid, totalling about $22,000.

The Peihopa family will receive $3200, while Mr Tuapaea's family will get $1000.

The judge ordered that the family of one survivor be paid $6900, while the family of the second injured person will receive $2000.

The company's director, Tame Wiremu, says the workers' deaths will stay with him forever.

Mr Wiremu says the outcome is a relief but the thought of the two men will always be there and he hopes their families' anger will diminish over time.