SA cement company and executive face charges after truckie fatality

Hi Mix Concrete manslaughter

New charges have been laid against a cement company and its executives following an 8-month investigation led by South Australia Police after the tragic death of truckie Abraham Jabateh in a 2020 rollover.

It is alleged that Jabateh’s employer Hi Mix Concrete, owner/managing director Tony Romano and another manager knew the heavy vehicle Jabateh was driving was defective but allowed it to be used on the road.

They have been charged with Category 1, 2 and 3 offences under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL).

Category 1 offences carry a maximum penalty of $341,870 and up to 5 years imprisonment for an individual and $3,418,700 for a corporation.

Category 2 offences carry a maximum penalty of $170,940 for an individual and $1,709,360 for a corporation.

Category 3 offences carry a maximum penalty of $56,960 for an individual and $574,620 for a corporation.

The matter will next be heard on March 25 at the Elizabeth Magistrates Court in Adelaide.

“Tragically, this is another road fatality that should never have occurred,” said NHVR director of prosecutions Belinda Hughes.

“Companies and executives must ensure the safety of their transport activities. If they ignore their responsibilities under the HVNL, they will be held to account.”

A few weeks after the 2020 accident police arrested and charged Romano and his son Daniel Romano with manslaughter but those charges were later dismissed.

“At this time the charge of manslaughter has been dismissed pending further investigation and prosecution have not ruled out the laying or relaying of charges in the future,” an SA police spokesperson told Big Rigs.

Hi Mix Concrete referred us to its solicitor when Big Rigs asked for comment regarding the latest charges.

The NHVR has also filed charges against another SA transport company and its director/administration manager.

South Australia Police commenced an investigation following a fatal crash involving a car and a road train, killing a woman, on the Augusta Highway near Red Hill on December 27, 2020.

Based on the investigation by the South Australia Police Heavy Vehicle Enforcement Unit, category 2 charges have been laid under the Heavy Vehicle National Law.

“Companies and their executives must comply with their obligations to ensure the safety of their drivers, vehicles and transport activities,” added Hughes.

The matter is listed for a first mention in the Adelaide Magistrates’ Court on 22 April 2022.

As in the Hi Mix Concrete case, the NHVR chose not to name the company, or executives when releasing details of the charges in a media release.

When Big Rigs queried why, we received the below response:

“The NHVR publishes information on prosecutions at its discretion as part of the regulator’s responsibility to investigate issues of public concern.

“Under 726D of the HVNL the NHVR are limited in what they may publish upon conviction. As a policy position we adopt the same approach upon the charging of a company or an individual.”

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