Procon wants to avoid trial

A tunnelling company is trying to stave off a trial after a 20-year-old miner died at work.

A tunnelling company is trying to stave off a trial after a 20-year-old miner died at work.

On October 19, 2009, Paul Wentzell parked the Procon Mining and Tunnelling company’s Toyota Land Cruiser on a slope at the Wolverine minesite.

As he started walking away, the emergency brake in the vehicle failed.

It rolled, hitting and killing Wentzell.

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board said it was Procon’s fault.

It was responsible for inspecting the vehicle, making sure the brakes worked.

It was also its job to ensure Wentzell was trained to properly use the Cruiser’s dual-braking system.

And since Wentzell was only an apprentice, someone should have been supervising him.

At the time of his death, no one was.

No one from Procon was in court on Tuesday either.

The company and the Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board were set to appear at 11 a.m. before Justice Steve Smyth.

Procon lawyer James Sutherland appeared by telephone, from Vancouver.

The company is charged with eight separate counts of negligence, but Sutherland asked that more time be given to settle the issue outside of court.

The two sides had begun discussions and a resolution couldn’t be far off, he said.

While not opposed to the request, Judy Hartling, the lawyer for the Workers’ Compensation, Health and Safety Board, suggested a resolution was farther away than Sutherland made it sound.

She wasn’t happy with further delays.

She offered Procon two weeks, but stressed the extension was Procon’s request, not a joint submission with the compensation board.

The first court appearance was November 16, 2009, noted Hartling.

Sutherland wanted more time – he’ll be out of the office all next week.

This matter did not need a trial, he said.

“It will not benefit anyone and will only frustrate the court as it will be a lengthy trial,” he said from the telephone speaker placed on the clerk’s table.

The court could better use the space for other cases, he added.

Smyth suggested a few dates, striving for a compromise.

The case will come back to court on April 12 at 11 a.m.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

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