New twist in Blenners Transport legal fight with TMR

By: Brad Gardner


Company faces charges over fatigue management as hearing is moved to Dalby

New twist in Blenners Transport legal fight with TMR
Blenners Transport will face court to answer allegations of breaching its fatigue management obligations.

 

Queensland trucking firm Blenners Transport and its owner are due to face court to answer allegations of breaching fatigue management law.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads’ (TMR) case against the company and owner Les Blennerhassett is scheduled to be heard in Dalby, but a date for the hearing has not been set.

A spokesperson for the department says the matter was initially due to be held over four days at the Toowoomba court house from October 6 to 9, but the matter was delisted late last week and moved to Dalby.

"There are four complaints against Blenners Transport Pty Ltd and four complaints against Leslie John Blennerhassett," TMR says.

Along with prosecuting Blennerhassett and his business, TMR has taken action against a number of company truck drivers.

TMR says matters against 46 drivers who were charged with a total of 148 fatigue management offences have been finalised.

"All drivers have been dealt with by the court by way of pleas of guilty," the spokesperson says.

TMR earlier this year unsuccessfully tried to have all the matters against the company, Blennerhassett and Blenners employees moved to Brisbane. 

During that hearing, the department alleged a "culture of non-compliance" within company ranks led to fatigue management breaches occurring.

"At its highest, the Prosecution case reveals the company was operated by Mr Blennerhassett to maximise profit, with little regard for fatigue management legislation," it submitted to the court. 

"In order to avoid detection, Mr Blennerhassett attempted to maintain plausible deniability through wilful blindness to systematic breaches of the Regulation by drivers in order to avoid personal liability."

In an interview that appeared in the August edition of ATN magazine, Blennerhassett defended his company against allegations of fatigue management breaches.

He says the company runs compliant schedules and he will fight remaining charges when they go to court.

Court proceedings have taken place in Bowen, Mackay, Maryborough, Richlands, Tully, Townsville and Rockhampton. 

TMR started investigating Blenners Transport in 2012.

It subsequently laid hundreds of charges but then dropped most of them.

Blenners Transport has not responded to request for comment for this report.

 

 

 

 

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