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Date 13 January 2020

1 charge pursuant to Section 533 Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (WCRA) –Fraud

1 charge pursuant to Section 136 WCRA – Failing to notify the insurer of an engagement in a calling

5 charges pursuant to Section 534 WCRA – Providing false or misleading information or statements

Court Southport Magistrates Court
Plea Plea of Guilty
Case The worker was charged with defrauding the insurer by returning to a calling without notifying the insurer. The worker positively denied having worked when questioned by the insurer.

On 13 December 2017, the worker suffered a medial meniscus tear to their right knee in the course of their employment as a bricklayer. The worker submitted an application for compensation which was accepted.

The worker was certified as having no capacity for any type of work until 31 May 2018.

On 17 April 2018, the worker was assessed by an Orthopaedic Surgeon. During the consultation the worker told the Orthopaedic Surgeon that they were only employed as a bricklayer and there were no light duties which did not involve heavy lifting.

The employer undertook surveillance footage of the worker on 11, 12 and 14 May 2018 which captured him undertaking bricklaying work with no signs of restrictions.

The worker had as number of communications with the insurer in which they were asked if they were undertaking any employment. The worker continually denied working.

On 5 June 2018, the same Orthopaedic Surgeon who assessed the worker provided a supplementary report after reviewing the surveillance footage. The doctor opined that the activity demonstrated by the worker in the surveillance was not consistent with the symptoms and level of activity reported to the doctor. The doctor believed the worker had misled the doctor in the fact that the worker stated they were unable to return to work and reported ongoing symptoms which weren’t displayed in the footage.

Despite having been positively identified by the employer, the worker later tried to explain the surveillance footage by saying it was not them working and that they had given their sign to a friend who was building the wall.

The evidence showed that the worker was working on a self-employed basis as a handyman and bricklayer. The worker was soliciting work through an online platform. It was confirmed that the worker had conducted at least three jobs and was paid $10,800.00 in cash for this work.

9 months imprisonment, wholly suspended for an operational period of 2 years on the fraud charge

2 months imprisonment, wholly suspended for an operational period of 2 years on each of the providing false or misleading information charges

Convicted but not further punished in relation to the failing to notify of a return to a calling charge

Terms to be served concurrently
Restitution $23,336.43
Costs $4,132.51
Common Law rights extinguished? Yes
Conviction Recorded
Consideration for Prevention A worker should inform the insurer of their return to a calling.