Magistrate blasts worksite ‘thuggery’
A CRANE driver involved in ongoing animosity with a work colleague snapped, chasing after then attacking the man with a bar at their Port of Brisbane worksite.
An Ipswich magistrate labelled it an act of workplace thuggery.
A report handed to the court contained a statement from the victim saying he had “a brain fart” in comments he made to rile the crane operator.
Both men lost their jobs as a result of the incident, which involved disagreement over wages, and comments made about the work of the operator of the 280-tonne crane, Ipswich Magistrates Court heard.
The crane operator, Scott Murray Wilson, 47, from Coominya, pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm on July 11 last year.
Prosecutor Acting Senior Sergeant Chris O’Neill submitted a photo of the complainant's arm, showing a minor abrasion where he had been struck.
He said the disagreement was about Wilson’s work.
Defence lawyer Michael Kelly said the incident needed to be put in context.
“It is not accepted there was anything wrong with the manner of the crane operation,” Mr Kelly said.
Mr Kelly added, however, that there had been some prior animosity between the two men.
He said Wilson had earlier spoken to a supervisor about his issues with the complainant.
Mr Kelly said the assault was completely out of character for Wilson, who has no prior offences.
“(A witness) said the complainant was dogging Scott in the 280-tonne crane. That the complainant did go too far. Scott got out of the crane very angry,” he said.
Mr Kelly said there had been previous arguments about pay rates.
He said the particular site at the Port of Brisbane was not a CFMEU site but the complainant had been CFMEU representative and there had been some badgering about pay rates.
“He (Wilson) is very regretful he lost his job down at the wharves it was close to home. Both men were terminated afterwards and he now works FIFO as a crane operator in the Dysart region,” Mr Kelly said.
In sentencing, Magistrate Robert Walker said the men had yelled at each other and the complainant drove to other end of the work site to speak to a supervisor.
Wilson then drove over in a forklift and was holding a metal bar and struck the man on his left forearm and chest.
The man’s injuries were not deemed serious.
Mr Walker said Wilson had no criminal record and was dealing with some mental health issues at the time.
“It is an instance of completely unacceptable workplace behaviour that could be described as workplace thuggery,” he said.
Wilson was fined $2000, a conviction was not recorded because of his good record with minimal risk of reoffending. He was ordered to pay $500 to the complainant.