On 24 October 2021, the defendant was sentenced in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for threatening an inspector, pursuant to section 190 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld). The defendant was fined $1,250.
On 27 May 2021, an Inspector from Workplace Health and Safety (‘WHSQ’) attended a bridge in Maroochydore following a report of a broken-down truck and trailer.
The Inspector was wearing a high visibility vest which was marked with the works ‘Inspector’ and ‘Workplace Health and Safety,’ and his inspectors identification card was displayed on his chest.
The Inspector arrived at the bridge and discovered that trailer had come apart while in transit and was blocking one lane of traffic on the bridge.
The defendant was on the bridge, standing close to moving traffic, directing traffic. The Inspector approached the defendant, identified himself as an inspector from WHSQ and asked that the defendant move off the road. There was some back and forth, during which the Inspector again identified himself, drew attention to his inspector identification and asked the defendant to move off the roadway.
The defendant eventually moved to the other side of the road, behind safety cones and away from oncoming traffic. The defendant and the Inspector continued to have a heated discussion, during which the Inspector suggested that the defendant phone police so they could assist with traffic control.
The defendant pointed his fingers at the Inspector and loudly said, “Settle down. Shut Up. Settle down and … just be quiet.” The Inspector said, “You don’t need to threaten me, okay? It’s against the law to intimidate an inspector. So, you can’t threaten me. You right? So calm down … call the police”.
The defendant said to the inspector in a raised voice “Shut your fucking mouth” while again pointing his finger at the inspector. The defendant then pulled his arm back and formed a fist with his hand while saying “Shut your mouth.” He lowered his fist shortly after raising it. The exchange ended shortly after this.
The defendant participated in a voluntary interview with WHSQ. He stated he could not hear the Inspector over the traffic and other noises and could not read his identification as he wasn’t wearing his glasses. It is not accepted that the defendant was not aware the Inspector was an inspector from WHSQ. The defendant was shown the body work camera footage of the incident. He stated that he did not recall it and denied striking, touching, or threatening to punch the inspector.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Gett took into account the defendant’s plea of guilty.
His Honour had regard to the victim impact statement, which was placed before the Court, noting that the defendant’s actions left a deleterious impression upon the inspector.
His Honour had regard to the character references tendered by defence and the matters raised on the defendant’s behalf, including his chronic history of under employment or unemployment, his financial stressors, his role as a carer for his elderly parents, and his mental health issues.
His Honour had regard to section 9 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 and noted that a deterrent sentence was called for.
His Honour noted that the legislature viewed this offending as relatively serious and that WHSQ officers must be able to lawfully do their duties without interference or threats of physical assault.
His Honour imposed a fine of $1,250 and exercised his discretion to not record a conviction.
OWHSP contact: email@example.com
Section 190 Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld)