Charges laid over Hillcrest jumping castle tragedy

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Workplace safety charges have been laid in relation to a Tasmanian primary school jumping castle tragedy that killed six students.

Chace Harrison, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, Zane Mellor, Addison Stewart, Jye Sheehan and Peter Dodt died after the incident at Hillcrest Primary School on December 16, 2021.

Then prime minister Scott Morrison and his wife, Jenny Morrison, visit Hillcrest Primary School in December 2021. Credit: James Brickwood

Tasmania’s workplace safety regulator on Friday said the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had filed a complaint in the Devonport Magistrates Court.

“The DPP has charged Taz-Zorb, the operator of the jumping castle, with a category two offence under the Work Health and Safety Act 2012,” WorkSafe Tasmania said.

It is alleged Taz-Zorb failed to comply with a health and safety duty in a way that exposed the children to a risk of death or serious injury.

“This decision comes after a significant investigation undertaken by WorkSafe Tasmania staff which involved many months of work,” the regulator said.

The six children who died in the Devonport Primary School tragedy: Peter Dodt, Addison Stewart, Zane Mellor, Jye Sheehan, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones and Chace Harrison.

“A large number of documents have been prepared and considered by the investigators and the DPP in order to reach this decision.

“As the matter is now before the court, no further information or comment can be provided.”

WorkSafe Tasmania head Robyn Pearce said she had met with the families involved throughout the year.

Several children were also seriously injured in the incident in which a jumping castle being used during end-of-year celebrations became airborne. A ceremony was held last December in Devonport to mark the one-year anniversary.

“The loss of such cherished … children sent shockwaves through the Devonport community, Tasmania and indeed our entire nation,” Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff said at the time.

“We continue to keep the children, their families and their loved ones in our hearts and in our minds.”

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