Eunji Ban: what about workers health & safety?

Workers fly ‘stop-violence-against-women’ flag from above construction site in South Brisbane Dec 2013. This is a union site.

Police say Eunji Ban was on her way to work at the Transcontinental Hotel at 482 George Street Brisbane at about 4 am when she was attacked and killed. In 2014 her killer will be tried in the Supreme Court of Queensland which is situated half way between where Eunji Ban was killed and where she worked as a cleaner. The court will not consider the ‘vicious, lawless, associates’ of her killer – modern day worker health and safety contracts between employer and employee.

The following map shows the route of Eunji Ban’s walk.

All workers should be entitled to safe passage going to or from work after hours i.e. by cab, maxi-taxi or other conveyance. So Eunji Ban’s employer is partly responsible for her death. How can this be rectified? In the case of Eunji Ban it is too late. Nothing can bring her back. What about other workers at the Transcontinental, at other workplaces going to work after hours? Safe passage to and from work should be a condition of employment.

In the many cases that casual workers are not covered consider this prosecution of her employer and the possible remedies.

The State of Queensland could charge Eunji’s employer under Vicious Lawless Associates (VLAD) Act 2013? We know, of course, they would not.

Police would rather place the responsibility at the feet of the victim.

“Detective acting inspector Tom Armitt, who is working on Ms Ban’s investigation, says it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. “I just want to reiterate to people you are responsible for your own safety. Brisbane is a very safe city, and you have to appreciate that as well,” Mr Armitt said.*

However if you read the legislation the employer could be charged.

Definitions under Vicious Lawless Associates (VLAD) Act 2013
“Association” = “Corporation”
“Examples of “Declared Offences” = “Serious Assault”, “Assault occasioning bodily harm”, “Murder” or “ Manslaughter (sic)

A court sentencing a vicious lawless associate for a declared offence must impose all of the following sentences on the vicious lawless associate—

(a) a sentence for the offence under the law apart from this act and without regard to any further punishment that may or will be imposed under this act;

(b) a further sentence of 15 years imprisonment served wholly in a corrective services facility;

(c) if the vicious lawless associate was, at the time of the commission of the offence, or during the course of the commission of the offence, an office bearer of the relevant association—a further sentence of 10 years imprisonment served wholly in a corrective services facility which must be served cumulatively with the further sentence mentioned in paragraph (b).

The Queensland Criminal Code provides for private prosecutions before a justice in the Supreme Court of Qld. If the attorney-general does not lay a charge under the VLAD Act, a private complaint could be taken out against Eunji Ban’s employer.

How does that quote from Edmund Burke, that liberal hero, go?

Your move, Mr Jarrod Bleiji (Attorney General of Queensland and proponent of the VLAD Act).

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men (sic) do nothing.”

Edmund Burke – 19th century liberal

Ian Curr
1 December 2013

* Murder in the City

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