United Steelworkers union irate after no charge laid in mine worker's death

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - A United Steelworkers union local is considering a private prosecution after the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch announced no charges would be laid in connection to the death of a mine worker five years ago.

John Wilson drowned after his excavator overturned into a sump filled with water at the Craigmont Mine near Merritt, B.C., Feb. 28, 2008.

Following an investigation by the RCMP, the Criminal Justice Branch announced last week that prosecutors would be unable to prove a breach of duty, a wanton or reckless disregard for life or safety, or any breach contributed to Wilson's death.

It said that as a result there wasn't a substantial likelihood of conviction against the mine, a manger or a supervisor if the case went to trial.

But union spokesman Richard Boyce says investigators didn't speak to workers who called for bars to be removed from the excavator's windows and roof, an issue that was raised at more than one safety meeting and would have allowed Wilson's escape.

Boyce says after the excavator overturned one worker even held onto Wilson's hand and felt it go limp. (CHNL)


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