Blenners to face new charges after 742 are dropped

By: Rob McKay


Magistrate awards costs to company and is said to have highlighted its cooperation

Blenners to face new charges after 742 are dropped
Blenners faces new chages at multiple venues

 

Charges against Blenners Transport and its directors have been dropped, with costs awarded against the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR).

However, owner and managing director Les Blennerhassett tells ATN that this is not the end of the matter, with TMR seeking to use a new complainant to bring 50 new charges to bear against them and to have them shifted from Tully to be heard elsewhere.

"Hopefully, we will get them knocked out also," he says of the case that looks like continuing at least into next month.

According to Blenners’ lawyers, the magistrate commented that the company had not done anything to encourage the charges and had sought to save costs.

She noted that the company’s efficiency and speed had allowed this to happen despite the complexities of the case and the awarding of costs, reportedly $3,500, was a reflection of that.

Blennerhassett, three other directors and the company had faced about 742 charges alleging fatigue management breaches following the ABC’s Four Corners program ‘This Trucking Life’ in February that aired accusations by sacked operations manager Stephen Gleeson.

Of those, 150 were aimed at the company and 592 at the directors.

Blennerhassett has always denied that management pressured drivers to break the law and he says records show drivers were given ample time for their trips.

He says Blenners continues to use the same schedules as in February 2012 when a random fatigue management audit was undertaken.

The developments in the case come four months after TMR informed the company that it has successfully dealt with aspects of National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) identified during spot checks of the company in March 4 and 5.

TMR would not say why the earlier charges were dismissed, citing the ongoing legal action.

"The department is pursuing charges against Blenners in several court jurisdictions around Queensland," it states.

"This involves 26 charges against the director and 27 charges against the company – which involve similar charges to those that were dismissed.

"Proceedings are ongoing. As such, we are unable to make any further comments at this time."

It reveals that between August 19 and September 22, the company faces court appearances at Bowen, Maryborough, Dalby, Mackay, Richlands, Tully, Holland Park, Rockhampton, Bundaberg,Townsville and Charters Towers.

ATN was awaiting a response from Four Corners at deadline.

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