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Falco cleared of safety charges

Falconbridge Ltd. has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of a miner almost three years ago.
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Falconbridge Ltd. has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of a miner almost three years ago.

After hearing a ?non suit? application from Falconbridge lawyer Doug Hamilton and 90 minutes of argument from Ministry of Labour lawyer Wes
Wilson, Justice Guy Mahaffy ruled Friday there was insufficient evidence to continue with the trial.

Falconbridge had pleaded not guilty to two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing as an employer to provide proper information, instruction and supervision to Kevin Payette.

Payette, 35, was killed July 29, 2001 when a huge baffle gate located at the end of an ore chute slammed against him, causing massive internal injuries.

The week-long trial heard Payette was standing underneath the ore chute with the baffle gate open, which is contrary to any safe working practice.

Mahaffy did not give reasons for ruling in favour of Hamilton?s application, but did say he will provide a written decision before the last week of June.

The trial heard from several witnesses who said they could not believe Payette was working near the open baffle gate because that was a recipe for disaster.

Payette and his partner Luc Duclos had already ignited one blast to try to bring down some ore that was hung up at the top of the ore chute and were
preparing for a second explosion when the accident took place.

Payette was trained that the baffle gate should remain closed at all times.



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