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Vic sign company to be tried on fatal wall


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Vic sign company to be tried on fatal wall

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A Melbourne sign company will face trial over the fatal collapse of a wall on Swanston Street in the CBD which killed three people.


A magistrate has committed a Melbourne sign company to stand trial over the fatal collapse of a brick wall, but denied a request to have the matter heard in the Victorian Supreme Court.

Aussie Signs Pty Ltd will be tried on two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in relation to the collapse at the Swanston Street site that killed three people last year.

Defence barrister Nick Pappas told the court he was "gobsmacked" when prosecutors asked that the case against Aussie Signs be heard in the Supreme Court.

Prosecutor Greg Lyon had two days earlier made an application to have a charge against co-accused Grocon Victoria Street Pty Ltd, an entity of building giant Grocon, heard in the Magistrates Court where the penalties are lower than if it were to be heard in the Victorian County Court.

Grocon Victoria Street pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to ensure a safe workplace after the application was granted, and two charges each against two other Grocon entities were dropped.

Dr Lyon, who prosecuted the case against Grocon Victoria Street on behalf of the Victorian WorkCover Authority, told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday he had been instructed by the Director of Public Prosecutions to ask for the Aussie Signs trial to be committed to the Supreme Court.

Aussie Signs Pty Ltd was contracted by site controller Grocon Victoria Street to attach advertising hoarding to the wall which the prosecution says increased the risk it would collapse, but did not cause it.

Magistrate Charles Rozencwajg asked how the prosecution could call for the Aussie Signs matter to be heard in the Supreme Court when it had been willing to have the Grocon matter resolved in the Magistrates Court.

Dr Lyon said the DPP felt the case was of sufficient importance to be heard in the Supreme Court.

Teenage siblings Alexander and Bridget Jones, of Melbourne, and Frenchwoman Marie-Faith Fiawoo, 33, were killed when a 15-metre-long section of brick wall fell onto Swanston Street in the CBD in March last year.

Mr Pappas formally entered pleas of not guilty to the two charges against Aussie Signs and opposed the submission for the matter to go to the higher court.

Aussie Signs Pty Ltd will appear in the County Court on Monday for a directions hearing.

A plea hearing will be held on Thursday for Grocon Victoria Street in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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