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Details of successful prosecution against E246589

Incident description

The defendant was present at a workplace when an incident occurred, through which another person sustained injury. He notified emergency services by telephone of an injury. This notification was passed on to the Office of Industrial Relations (OIR). An OIR Inspector received this information and contacted the defendant, who subsequently terminated the call. Approximately five minutes later, the defendant called the Inspector back and proceeded to hurl obscenities, aggressively, and make a number of threats about finding the Inspector and killing him. The Inspector had no previous dealings with the defendant.

Court result

On 13 December 2018, at the return (first mention) of the matter in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court, the defendant pleaded guilty to breaching s.190 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and was sentenced.

Magistrate McLaughlin ordered a one-year good behavior bond with a surety of $1,000. The court ordered that no conviction be recorded.

In reaching a decision, the Magistrate considered the defendant's extremely tragic personal circumstances, in relation to which his Honour expressed sympathy. His Honour noted there was no reasonable explanation for the defendant's behaviour in the circumstances, although accepting he was emotionally fragile at the time.

In deciding penalty, Magistrate McLaughlin noted the maximum penalty, which concerned potentially much more serious circumstances. His Honour emphasised the offence was against a person who was just doing their job, similar to a police or ambulance officer, with the community expectation being that such individuals should be able to do their job without being subject to such threats. His Honour took into account that the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach and entered a plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity and had shown genuine remorse.

Considerations for prevention

(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)

It is an offence to impersonate, assault, threaten, intimidate or intentionally hinder or obstruct, an inspector or a person assisting an inspector.

This outcome illustrates that abusive and threatening behaviour towards WHSQ inspectors will not be tolerated by the courts or the community.


Date of offence:
$50,000 or two years imprisonment
Maroochydore Magistrates Court
s.190 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011
Decision date:
One year good behavior bond with $1000 surety
Maximum Penalty:
$50,000 or two years imprisonment
Conviction recorded:
CIS event number: