The case of a Fredericton construction company and a former supervisor charged with criminal negligence in a teenage worker's death at a wastewater treatment plant has been delayed two months after their lawyers told the court they needed more time to review the evidence.
Former supervisor Jason King, 43, of Lower Hainesville and Springhill Construction Ltd. were expected to enter pleas in New Brunswick Provincial Court on Monday in Fredericton. Their pleas were rescheduled until Nov. 23 at 9:30 a.m.
The charges were laid in connection with the death of Michael Anthony Henderson, 18, who was working on a construction project at the Barker Street plant when he was killed on Aug, 16, 2018.
Henderson graduated from Fredericton High School just a couple of months before he died.
King was not present Monday morning, but his lawyer, Patrick Hurley was there. He asked Justice Henrik Tonning for an eight-week adjournment before his client enters a plea.
Hurley told the court that the Crown's disclosure is technical and "not an easy read."
Chad Sullivan, an agent for the lawyer representing the construction firm, requested a similar adjournment, which was also granted by the judge.
Springhill Construction owner-operator Geoff Colter was also in the courtroom, as well as representatives from WorkSafeNB.
First criminal case
Springhill Construction and King were each charged on July 15 with criminal negligence causing death.
The company is the first employer in New Brunswick to be charged criminally in the death of a worker.
No information has been released about what happened at the plant, where a construction crew was installing a secondary clarifier, a settling tank where liquid waste or sewage is held.
WorkSafeNB president and CEO Doug Jones said last month that only about 30 people across Canada have been charged under the so-called Westray law since it took effect 16 years ago.
City originally charged
Springhill Construction, King and the City of Fredericton were all initially charged in 2019 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The provincial act contains legal requirements that must be met by all New Brunswick workplaces.
The company was charged with five counts alleging failures to take reasonable precautions to ensure employee safety on the site, and King and the city, as the contractor, were each charged with one count.
According to WorkSafeNB, the Crown decided to go forward with a criminal charge against the employer and supervisor but not the city.
Charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act were withdrawn when the criminal charges were laid