Farmers appeal against quad bike fines

A Federated Farmers appeal to its members has funded the successful High Court appeal against the sentences handed down in two District Court cases on quad bike use.
A sentencing appeal was taken to the High Court by farmers Maria Carlson and Phil Jones as well as Rangi Holmes, against their convictions last year for not wearing helmets and carrying passengers on their quad bikes, under the Health and Safety in Employment Act. The High Court reduced the Carlson and Jones’ fines from $40,000 to $30,000 and the Holmes penalty from $15,000 to $12,000.
Federated Farmers health and safety spokesperson Katie Milne says the real measure of the success of the case was in Judge Dobson’s judgment in the High Court that WorkSafe had not provided sufficient evidence of what industry standards were in the original district court cases and the safety documents WorkSafe had produced were not standards but ‘aspirational’.
“In effect the High Court said WorkSafe was making up its rules on the run and in future they will have to do more work with safety experts in the industry before they head off to court.”
Katie Milne says farmers responded strongly to an appeal for money to fund the appeal case.
“We’ve had money and messages of support from members who note there was no accident in either case and they consider the fines way over the top. To date we have collected $30,000 and there will be a surplus we will put into our Federated Farmers’ Fighting Fund for similar cases.”

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