Whareheepa Te Amo, 62, fell to his death in July 2014 while installing roofing at a Sunshine Coast worksite.
Whareheepa Te Amo, 62, fell to his death in July 2014 while installing roofing at a Sunshine Coast worksite.

Harness placed next to dead tradie's body to deceive

THE contractor who hired a roofer who died at a Lake McDonald worksite has admitted to laying a harness next to the man's dying body to hide the fact he wasn't wearing one.

The first witness in the reckless conduct trial against brothers Gary and Peter Lavin and their respective companies, Michael Pairama, admitted to the fabrication in Maroochydore District Court on the second day of trial.

Whareheepa Te Amo, 62, fell to his death in July 2014 while installing roofing at the worksite.

Mr Pairama was hired by Gary Lavin's company Multi-Run Roofing to install roofing on an industrial shed. Peter Lavin's company, Lavin Constructions, was the primary builder at the site.

During the first day of the trial, Mr Pairama told the court no edge protection had been installed on the building, so the roofers - including Mr Te Amo - instead used scissor lifts as a barrier.

Mr Pairama said at one point the scissor lift couldn't be used due to holes in the ground which had been dug for drainage, so Mr Te Amo put on a safety harness.

He further said before Mr Te Amo fell, he had taken off his harness to speak with him before he lost his footing in a gutter.

After being pressed by defence barrister Laura Reece, acting for Gary Lavin, Mr Pairama admitted he told a police officer at the scene that he removed a harness from Mr Te Amo's body after he fell.

"I'm suggesting the reason you told the police these things was to hide that he wasn't wearing a harness," Ms Reece questioned.

"Yes," Mr Pairama replied.

In his opening statement yesterday, prosecutor Michael Copley told the court the trial wasn't about who caused Mr Te Amo's death, rather "the identity of a person with a health and safety obligation that engages in conduct which exposes someone to a risk of death or serious injury."

More to come.



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