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Lawyers accused of ‘fishing expedition’ over RAH death

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Contractors charged over the death of a man at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital construction site have been criticised in court for seeking access to his medical records.

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Hansen Yuncken Pty Ltd, CPB Contractors and SRG Building (Southern) Pty Ltd have been called before South Australia’s Industrial Relations Court following an investigation by SafeWork SA into the November 2014 death of Jorge Castillo-Riffo.

The 54-year-old received crush injuries to his head, neck and back after he became trapped between a scissor lift and a concrete slab above him.

SafeWork SA has alleged the contractors failed to comply with a health and safety duty which exposed Castillo-Riffo to risk of death or serious injury.

Counsel for SafeWork SA, Tracy Riddle, told the court today that defence lawyers had requested a wide range of documents, including Castillo-Riffo’s medical records.

Hospital documents relating to Castillo-Riffo undergoing an ECG and coughing up blood had been provided but Riddle said the events had occurred two-and-a-half years before his death.

“We don’t believe there’s any relevance,” she told the court.

“It seems to us to be a fishing expedition.”

Counsel for Hansen Yuncken and CPB Contractors, Liesl Chapman SC, said she would be in a position to indicate her clients’ pleas within weeks but asked for further time to review material provided by the prosecution.

Industrial Magistrate Michael Ardlie granted the request, ordering the parties to return to court on July 14.

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