Council in court over death of workman felling trees

Cork County Council appeared as a defendant in court yesterday in a health and safety prosecution arising out of the death of a workman during tree-felling more than two years ago.

Council in court over death of workman felling trees

Michael O’Donovan, 44, a father-of-three from Aghabullogue, Co Cork, an employee of Cork County Council, was killed while working on a compound off Carr’s Hill in November 2012.

The DPP brought a health and safety case against the local authority at Cork District Court yesterday.

State solicitor John Brosnan indicated that the DPP had directed trial by indictment. Mr Brosnan said that the book of evidence was not ready to be served on the defendant, Cork County Council, and that some time would be needed.

On his application, Judge Olann Kelleher adjourned the case until March 18 to allow time for preparation and service of a book of evidence.

There are three health and safety charges against the accused.

A second defendant faces a single count related to health and safety but where there is no reference to a fatality occurring.

Andrew O’Riordan of Fergus, Dripsey, Co Cork, is charged that at the same date and place he failed as an employer to identify a certain hazard of the work of felling trees using a chainsaw and failing to be in possession of a risk assessment.

This case, taken by the Health and Safety Authority, was put back to March 18 but it is to take place at Cork District Court, rather than by indictment at the Circuit Court.

An inquest in January 2013 into Mr O’Donovan’s death, heard the cause of his death was severe head injuries due to blunt force trauma consistent with being struck by a telegraph pole.

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