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Prosecution Details

Offender Nina Mary Stokoe


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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 KA325/11 27 January 2008 5th October 2011 20A(2)(c) $11,000.00 5th October 2011
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employee failed to take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the safety or health of any other person through any act or omission at work and by that contravention caused the death of, or serious harm, to Ian Ward.

Background Details

The Accused was an employee of GSL Custodial Services Pty Ltd, now known as G4S Custodial Services Pty Ltd (G4S).  G4S had a contract with the State of Western Australia (Department of Corrective Services) to transport persons in custody for it.  The vans used to transport the persons in custody were supplied by the Department and could only be physically altered with the agreement of the Department.

On 26 January 2008 Mr Ward was randomly breath tested near Laverton and alleged to have been driving over the legal limit.  As a result he was held in custody until 27 January 2008 when he was to be driven from Laverton to Kalgoorlie Prison so his matter could be dealt with by the Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court. On that day the Laverton Police asked G4S to transport Ward from Laverton to Kalgoorlie. 

On 27 January 2007 the Accused and a fellow employee, Graham Powell collected a Van owned by Department of Corrective Services from a yard at the Kalgoorlie Police Station.  The Accused and Graham Powell used G4S's checklist to check the van.  It did not require them to check whether the airconditioner was working in the rear pod.  The Accused and Graham Powell drove to Laverton to collect Mr Ward and drive him back to Kalgoorlie.  When the Accused and Graham Powell arrived in Laverton at approximately 11:20am it was 34°C.

The Van was divided into the driver's cabin and two "pods", a middle pod and a rear pod.  Each pod was securely separated from the other. The middle and rear pods were used to transport persons in custody.  The inside of the rear pod was made entirely of metal, including the seats.  It had two bench seats which were about 50 centimetres apart. 

The rear pod was accessible by two layers of doors at the rear of the van. One door closed over the top of the other. The inner door could be opened with a safety chain in place. The safety chain limited the space it could be opened to about 20 centimetres.  This allowed communication between a person outside, such as the Accused, and the person in custody. It did not allow enough space for the person in custody to escape from the van.

When the doors were closed the rear pod did not have an opening to the outside. Inside the rear pod it was dark. The only possible vision to the outside was through the rear doors but it was almost completely obscured.

The driver's cabin was serviced by an air conditioning system separate from that which serviced the middle and rear pods.  The air conditioning could be on in the driver's cabin but off in the middle and rear pods.

The rear pod had a button that when pushed caused a small red light on the dash to come on.  As soon as the button stopped being pushed the light went off.  The light was difficult for the driver's to see. 

Mr Ward was handed over by the Laverton Police to the Accused and Graham Powell to be transported back to Kalgoorlie. At approximately 11:40am the Accused and Graham Powell left the Laverton Police Station with Mr Ward in the rear pod. The Accused and Graham Powell drove continuously to Kalgoorlie. They did not stop to check on Mr Ward. The trip took three and a half hours.

At an unknown time during the course of the journey the air conditioner for the rear pod stopped working.

The maximum temperature in Kalgoorlie was 42.4°C.  During a re-enactment of Mr Ward's journey, on a day which reached a maximum between 38.5°C and 40.8°C, probes in the Rear Pod measured its inner temperature as 50.4°C.

The Accused and Graham Powell say that at approximately 3:15pm, on the outskirts of Kalgoorlie, a single thump came from the Rear Pod. They stopped the van and opened the inner security door to the length that the security chain would allow. The Accused and Graham Powell say they could not get Mr Ward to respond to them so they drove to Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital.  At 3:20pm Mr Ward was admitted to Kalgoorlie Regional Hospital. At the time of arrival Mr Ward was unconscious and no pulse could be found. He had a large third degree burn to the right of his abdomen. Mr Ward died from heatstroke.

Before leaving Kalgoorlie,  before leaving Laverton and during the journey the accused should have checked:

  • The air-conditioner in the rear pod was working effectively
  • The temperature in the rear pod

Prior to leaving Laverton the Accused should have:

  • Told Mr Ward how to get her attention or Graham Powell's attention during the journey.
  • Not used the van or moved Mr Ward.

Outcome Summary

The Accused plead guilty and was convicted

Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Kalgoorlie
Costs No order for Costs

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