Jason Garrels died just shy of his 21st birthday on his ninth day as a trades assistant for Daytona Trading Pty Ltd.
Jason Garrels died just shy of his 21st birthday on his ninth day as a trades assistant for Daytona Trading Pty Ltd. Contributed

Safety breach killed Jason: Daytona pleads guilty

HIS hands trembled and his voice broke as a grief stricken Gympie father told the court of the impact his son's death has had on the family.

"I cannot expect you to fully comprehend what this feels like ... This is like a nuclear explosion that has gone off in my family," Michael Garrels said.

Jason Garrels was only 20 when he was electrocuted on his ninth day working for Daytona Trading Pty Ltd on a Clermont building site on February 27, 2012.

Yesterday Daytona pleaded guilty in the Mackay Industrial Magistrates Court to failing to discharge an electrical safety obligation.

But the guilty plea was bitter sweet for the Garrels' family.

"The worst thing about this system (is) it takes so long to get anywhere and every time you have to relive (the pain)," Mr Garrels said outside court.

Mr Garrels was supported by his wife Lee, daughters Gemma and Georgia and brother Richard.

His younger son Lachlan was unable to attend because of his graduation.

Magistrate Damien Dwyer thanked Mr Garrels for his courage after he read a statement to the court.

Mr Garrels told of kissing his son's face when he was alone with him at the hospital and saying sorry over and over.

"I am his main protector and I felt I had failed him," Mr Garrels said.

Mr Garrels said he and his family felt a "deep sadness that gives no respite, making life at times unbearable".

His wife had to give up her career as a nurse educator.

Barrister Trajce Cvetkovski, for Workplace Health and Safety, said the case was "quite simple":

Daytona Trading didn't do enough to ensure the safety of an employee.

There was the capacity to provide information, protective equipment and training. "It wasn't provided," Mr Cvetkovski said.

Mr Garrels told the court not one hour went by he didn't think about Jason.

"Jason was a person that held an incredible worth within his family and his community and no one ever will think no one cared about him or his death," Mr Garrels said.

"Every day I miss my son."

No sentence yet for Daytona Trading 

MICHAEL Garrels wants a conviction recorded against the employers of his son Jason, who was killed while working on a building site.

Mr Garrels made a heartfelt plea to Magistrate Damien Dwyer in a statement he read out to the court yesterday.

Daytona Trading Pty Ltd, Jason's employer, yesterday pleaded guilty in the Mackay Industrial Magistrates Court to failing to discharge an electrical safety obligation.

Jason Garrels was electrocuted while attempting to move a temporary switch board, which hadn't been isolated from the electrical supply, at a Clermont building site where he was working.

Defence for the building company argued against a conviction and said $90,000 should be the top of the range for a fine.

An electrical company, Cold Spark, charged with the same offence, pleaded guilty last year and was fined $90,000 and no conviction was recorded.

Jason was under the direction of Cold Spark at the time he died. The blameworthiness of Cold Spark was more than the blameworthiness of Daytona, the court was told.

The matter was adjourned to Tuesday for sentence.


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