Electrician jailed for manslaughter

Mar 10 2018

 Michael Garrels has been haunted by flashbacks of his electrocuted son dying in hospital six years ago due to the negligence and greed of a tradesman who took on work beyond his abilities.

Mr Garrels expressed his deep sense of grief and loss as Queensland electrical contractor Nathan Day was sentenced to a minimum two years in jail on Friday.
"I cannot put into words the anguish and devastation Jason's easily avoidable death has cost us all," he told the Brisbane Supreme Court.
There's now an empty chair at the Garrels family table where the 20-year-old larrikin would be sitting and laughing with family, were it not for Day's failure to properly install safety measures at the central Queensland site where he was in charge of electrical work.
In February 2012, on his ninth day on a job building 81 houses across three streets at Clermont, Jason Garrels accidentally touched live wires with a switchboard he was holding.
Day, who had ignored regulations and ran live wires across the ground in conduit instead of burying them, should have cut power to the street on which Jason was labouring.
But he had been distracted by a phone call.
Worse, he did not rig a safety switch, and incorrectly set up fuses.
"Had those two steps been taken, the death of Mr Garrels would not have occurred," Justice Helen Bowskill said.
After being electrocuted, he was taken to hospital where his mother, Lee, was on shift as a nurse.
His father arrived soon after and began praying and encouraging Jason to hang on.
"I could see the signs of death were becoming stronger, Jason's skin becoming paler and colder," Mrs Garrels told the court.
"I stood with my husband, arms around each other feeling the total tragedy and horror of what was going on.
"My son's safety and life were sacrificed by short-cutting and greed, that makes me fiercely angry."
The Brisbane Supreme Court heard Jason Garrels accidentally touched live wires with a switchboard he was holding, and died shortly after. Source: AAP, stock
While Mr Garrels was dying in front of his parents at hospital, Day set about covering his tracks.
He went to the site's main switchboard and stripped components, later claiming it was done for safety.
But Justice Bowskill found it was a calculated deceit by Day to cover up failures.
During a 2015 inquest, Day lied about the installation of the safety measures.
He also spoke with witnesses to influence what they would tell investigators, including blaming Jason.
Day pleaded guilty to manslaughter and perjury and was jailed for a maximum of seven years. He will be eligible for parole in March 2020.
Source: 7 News

Last changed: Mar 10 2018 at 11:02 AM