Please be advised that at 12.50pm
on Friday 8th July 2011 the FULL COURT of the South Australian Industrial Relations Commission will be handing down its decision of details in the conviction and sentencing in the matter of IAN MARKOS V QUIN INVESTMENTS and NIKOLAI KUZUB. This decision related to an APPEAL that was lodged by both defendants and was heard in front of the three Magistrates on February 9th 2011.


The shocking explosion at the Gladstone Munitions factory on May 9th 2006 that claimed the lives of Matthew Keeley, Damien Harris and Darren Millington was eventually bound for the South Australian Industrial Relations Court with charges laid under the good ol’ reliable (but somehow barely adequate) Section 19 of the OHS&W Act (Failing a Duty of Care).

On the 1st September 2010, defendants QUIN INVESTMENTS and NIKOLAI KUZUB were both fined $95,000 for their roles in neglecting important safety and maintenance issues at the plant.

Having attended just a few days of the trial and hearings and I must say, it was hard to sit through.

I couldn’t help but wonder how the families of these three men held it together so well. Personally, this time I didn’t carry the burden of Mother, Father, Wife, Child or sibling so it was easier to take this in from an outside perspective. That said and still, the way the defence’s lawyer Grant Germein directed speech to the family made me uncomfortable so I shudder to think how that all must have felt for them. One could easily be forgiven for thinking we were sitting on some Hollywood TV set amid a dramatic court room scene. The problem was this wasn’t fake ‘anything’ – the horrible detail of death, devastation and blaze attitudes to safety were absolutely real.


Suggesting the Magistrate was being emotionally blackmailed because the families have been ‘produced’ was nothing short of insensitive and unfair.

For those of us that have experienced the loss of a loved one followed by that long path into the justice system, well … no one has to ask you to be there. The family of those 3 boys attended that trial and every hearing since because they were (and still are) hurting. They went because they have suffered a tragic loss that did not make sense. It’s the need for answers that draws us. It’s also the need to ensure that we don’t let lawyers or the justice system forget for one second why they are there. Lives were lost forever – they had every right to be there.

To suggest it was at the ‘State’s Expense’ is simply not true. That statement is not only inconsiderate, it demonstrates a lack of will to acquire facts to ensure innocent people are not traumatised unnecessarily.

It would not have taken much effort at all for a simple probe into who paid, how they travelled and where they stayed. One would then find that they travelled the long distance on their own dime. They took time of work at their own personal expense. Their accommodation was assisted by friends – not the ‘state’. None of this was that hard to verify… and yet it appeared in the paper and these people had little option but to wear the stigma.

Who knew words uttered by lawyers in a court of law could be so abhorrently wrong – and for the most part, people hear it then read it and form an opinion whether it is the truth or not.

So tomorrow, with some hope, the FULL COURT will come back with a decision these three families desperately need so they can put this legal rubble behind them and start a little healing.


While on the topic of the small town of Gladstone – I came across these job placement adverts and at the same time, this article in relation to the same company –
MORE BANG FOR BUCK from the Northern Territory News.

Hopefully the importation of cheap dynamite (if that is in fact what is being imported) and the future storage and handling of any explosives will only happen if and when all licenses and permits are properly upheld.

Importing cheap anything is always a concern if it competes directly against the OHS and safety guidelines Australian manufacturers are lawfully required to follow.

When it comes to explosives, whether storing, transporting or manufacturing – I think Magistrate Ardlie summed it up rather nicely when he outlined in relation to housekeeping attitudes on the site QUIN INVESTMENTS and NIKOLAI KUZUB oversaw, “You were not manufacturing marshmallows out there…”

  1. Sab says:

    Marshmallows indeed… Wonder how they are going to key an eye on that import?… was that 4,326 tonnes or 4,329 tonnes last year… can’t see… the ink is a bit smudged… nah sorry… it’s a typo… should have been 4239 tonnes… ah well… self regulation works pretty ok… thank goodness we only allow honest and responsible people to handle explosives… run businesses… or work for regulators… and there is always unions to protect workers… I feel so much better

  2. Karen Hudson says:

    Sadly for Industrial death cases there are no emotions in a Courtroom, apart from the family.
    In our experience we had to sit and listen to lie after lie and was told not to react :0( at times I felt I would self combust with hurt and anger that highly paid Lawyers could say what ever they wanted without any evidence at all!
    In my experience and reality, we seen nothing but a mere game of legal chess before our very eyes.
    As for cost, every last sent came out of our pocket, grieving and unable to work seen any savings disappear in a flash.
    Sometimes we had to beg borrow or steal to be able to afford to get to court for the hearing.
    In my opinion Company Lawyers are without morals and some of the most inhumane, manipulating and emotionless people I have ever come across in my life.
    I will never understand how these types of people close their eyes at night, not ever!

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