The death of four miners at the Gretley Colliery near Newcastle on 14 November 1996 was not only a personal disaster for the victims and their families, but has also had a significant impact on prosecution policy in the mining industry in New South Wales. On 5 December 2006, the Full Bench of the Industrial Court of NSW handed down its decision on the appeal in Newcastle Wallsend Coal Company Pty Ltd & Ors v McMartin (the Gretley appeal). The decision overturned the previous conviction of one of the company officers, but re-affirmed the guilt of two mine managers, and the guilt of the two companies concerned in the management of the Gretley Colliery. Now that the long series of judicial decisions seems to have reached an end, it seems appropriate to review this fInal appeal concerning the criminal liability of the companies concerned, and of the managers involved, handed down just over a decade after the tragic events.
Journal of Occupational Health and Safety, Australia and New Zealand Vol. 24, Issue 2, p. 113-129