News

Connect Logistics national operations manager found guilty of serious offence

connect

Connect Logistics former national operations manager Cris Large has been found guilty today of a category 1 offence, the most serious under Heavy Vehicle National Law, for breaching due diligence as an operator.

Large, who is due to be sentenced on January 23 in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court, faces a possible two-year custodial sentence.

The charges were laid by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) in September 2021 following an extensive investigation led by Victoria Police through Taskforce Paragon.

Taskforce Paragon was established to investigate an incident on the Eastern Freeway in Melbourne, where a Connect Logistics truck hit and killed four Victoria Police officers while they were conducting a roadside intercept on April 22, 2020.

NHVR executive director statutory compliance, Raymond Hassall, says the collaboration between NHVR and Victoria Police ensured a positive safety outcome for the heavy vehicle industry.

“This outcome demonstrates the power of the HVNL – with the incident occurring in Victoria, the company being based out of NSW, and having employees right across Australia, the matter was able to be heard from a national perspective,” Hassall said.

“It was also found that they were a party in the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) as an operator, sending a strong message to executives across the heavy vehicle industry that their obligation is to keep their people and all road users safe.”

NHVR director of prosecutions, Belinda Hughes, stressed the importance of executives having the systems and procedures in place to support safety in their organisation – including for fatigue management.

“We urge all companies to review what they have in place to manage the fatigue of their drivers. Is it working, is it effective?” Hughes said.

“Fatigue is a serious issue that can result in significant injury or death. It is your legal duty to support your drivers in their fatigue management.”

“Our thoughts are with the families of the four officers involved.”

The officers killed in the 2020 crash were leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Constable Glen Humphris, Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Josh Prestney.

Last month Connect Logistics was fined $2.31 million for the most serious offence available under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (NVNL).

The company’s managing director Corey Matthews was also fined $22,000 and given a supervisory order.

2 Comments

  1. Although this would appear on the surface to be a fair outcome considering the consequences of the incident, but I can’t help but wonder would the prosecution have been as vigorous had it been anyone other than Police officers killed in this incident?

  2. Whilst it was a tragedy that happened to the police officers who were killed in this accident I can’t believe the lengths that the powers that be have gone too to make an example out of the company involved. Hundreds of truckies die each year and the authorities do nothing, except have a couple of crackdowns where they pull over as many trucks as possible and every driver wins a prize or should I say gets a fine, to address the real issues. Of course the authorities should crack down on the company involved and do whatever they can to prevent this happening again but at the same time they should be doing the same thing every time a truckie dies too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend