COVID inquest a prison ‘dress rehearsal’

WorkSafe has been accused of making use of an inquest into the fatalities of dozens of St Basil’s Home for the Aged residents as a “costume rehearsal” for the prosecution of the home’s administration.

Chairman Kon Kontis and manager Vikki Kos have questioned the Victorian Supreme Courtroom to halt Coroner John Cain forcing them to give proof at an inquest into the deaths of 50 citizens in 2020.

The pair ended up managing the home when 45 citizens died from COVID-19. A different 5 citizens died for the duration of an outbreak that started on July 9.

On July 22 the complete staff was changed with an inexperienced emergency workforce which, in several hours of the handover, struggled to treatment for the typically Greek-talking residents who missed foods and medicine.

The duo’s proof would be matter to an buy that something they say are not able to be made use of in a criminal prosecution in opposition to them.

But that wouldn’t stop derivative use of their proof, their barrister Ian Hill QC explained, increasing concerns about witnesses tailoring their very own proof in accordance.

The simple fact WorkSafe was represented by two barristers on each day of the inquest indicated a real overlap involving the inquest and any prison proceedings, Mr Hill explained.

Mr Hill also took concern with Decide Cain’s choice in December very last yr to hear from people of these who died in an “terribly casual” closed court docket listening to soon before ruling that Mr Kontis and Ms Kos would have to give evidence.

He sat at the bar desk with people and their attorneys and advised them to phone him John, Mr Hill stated.

A single household member accused Mr Kontis and Ms Kos of lacking courage, and of “carelessness and incompetence” that led to the fatalities of 50 folks.

Yet another family members member experienced previously implored Choose Cain to call for the pair to give proof.

That happened just before Mr Hill’s in-court submissions to the coroner but after published submissions ended up filed, he said.

The woman mentioned grieving family members trusted Mr Kontis and Ms Kos to treatment for their loved types.

“If they do not take the stand it will be a ultimate slap in the deal with for all of us,” the female said.

An alternative to forcing the pair to give proof now would be to make it possible for the legal regulation method to acquire its study course, possibly with costs to be laid or an announcement by prosecutors that they would not move forward with a criminal circumstance, Mr Hill explained.

The trial ahead of Justice Stephen O’Meara is anticipated to just take two days.

The Fort Information