KAITANGATA MINE ACCIDENT
CLAIM OF £2,000. The case of Robert Wa-ddingham (minor) v. the New Zealand Coal and Oil Company was continued in the Supreme Court tins morning before Mr Justice Sim and a jury of 12. Plaintiff claimed £2,000 damages for injuries sustained In an accident in the Kaitangata No. 1 mine in February. Messrs Adame and Hanlon appeared for plaintiff, and Messrs John MacGregor and W. C. MacGregor for defendant company. The case for the plaintiff was concluded yesterday (and is reported on another page) save for the cross-examination of Dr Barnett, the gist of which this morning was that it was not necessary to go beyond the injury to the plaintiff's brain to account for the symptoms produced. He had not looked for any more obscure cause for the symptoms, since the accident was tile obvious canre. Mr John MacGregor opened the case for the defence. Ho stated at tho outset that plaintiff had elected to make a claim for damages under common law, instead of a claim for compensation under tho Workers 1 Compensation Act. It was not necessary under the Workers’ Compensation Act to prove that injury arose from negligence on the part of the employer: it was sufficient to satisy tho Arbitration Court that the accident arose out of and in tho course of his employment. But under common law plaintiff had to prove not only that there was negligence on the part of the employer or one of his workmen, but also that that negligence was the cause of the injury. Moreover, it was a defence under common law that contributory negligence occurred on the part’ of the person injured. Plaintiff had to satisfy the jury that negligence caused the accident, and that ho did not contribute towards the negligence. Now what was the nature of the evidence lad 1 to show that the accident was caused by negligence? Thera were two things mentioned: 1, the absence of a- cuddy wheel as a brake. But he would lead evidence to show that not only was there no need for a cuddy wheel in this case, but that a cuddy wheel would have been dangerous. Tho jig was a more simple appliance, once tho roadman had succeeded (by means of a weight on the empty car) in balancing the empty truck against the full one. Tho second point in which negligence was suggested was in the use of a wire rope without a piece of chain. It was suggested that there should have been a bit of chain between the hook and the wired rope. He would, however, call the miner who rigged it, and who had used it in England, and this witness would say that ho considered it safe to attach the rope directly to the hook without any chain. The only difference was that'in England a hempen ropa was used instead of a wire one, and it would.be shown that the wire rope was as safe as the hempen, and as flexible. Air MacGregor went on to point out that from the time of the accident plaintiff had been receiving from tho company £7 4s 10d every four weeks by way of compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Act. That sum was equal to half of his average wages. That commenced from the date of the accident, and continued until the commencement of the present action. The position now was that plaintiff could not recover under both systems. Nevertheless, the jury should bear in mind that even if this action went against plaintiff, that would not interfere with his right to compensation afterwards. James Hector, a miner of 20 years’ exporience in England and New Zealand, who had been roadman, and who constructed the contrivance alleged to have been tho first cause of the’ accident, stated that ha had rigged similar appliances, but never with wire, always with hemp. Air Hanlon: Did it not occur to you that wire, being so sinuous, it would’ be necessary to have between the hook and the wire rope a piece of chain? Witness: No! It was not necessary. Mr Hanlon proceeded to demonstrate practically how the hook might hare slipped out, but witness thought it improbable, though not impossible. He said that it had been working two days when the accident occurred. Alex. S. Gillanders, manager of No. 1 mine, said that he authorised last witness to fix the appliance if it would facilitate work. It would be inspected by the official deputies and underviewers. Witness considered the appliance reasonably safe, and further considered that neither a cuddy wheel nor a brake would hare had the slightest effect upon the accident once tho hook came off, for with a wheel, the rope, when one end was detached, would fly round the wheel even faster than it would round a prop. It was only on long runs and much steeper grades than this that a wheel and bx-ake were necessary. As for the suggestion made that ona double road would have been moro safe, it was tho other way about; the separata roads were an additional safely if anything went wrong. At the luncheon adjournment the Court adjourned till 10 to-morrow.
Permanent link to this item
KAITANGATA MINE ACCIDENT, Evening Star, Issue 15660, 26 November 1914