Court declines Mobile Refrig appeal

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The Court of Appeal has declined an application by Mobile Refrigeration Specialists (MRS) for special leave to appeal against a fine and reparation order relating to the 2008 Icepak Coolstores fire at Tamahere.

MRS was responsible for the installation of a hydrocarbon-based refrigerant in the Tamahere coolstores, which exploded in an inferno in April 2008, killing fireman Derek Lovell and injuring several others.

MRS pleaded guilty in the Hamilton District Court to charges laid under the Health and Safety Act, and was fined $56,000 and ordered to pay reparation of $175,000, reports the Waikato Times.

The company then unsuccessfully appealed to the High Court, arguing the judge did not take adequate account of its ability to pay the fine imposed, with the company destined to be put into liquidation if the penalty stood.

Court of Appeal judges Warwick Gendall, Lynton Stevens and JJ Cooper upheld the decisions of both the Hamilton District Court and the High Court in declining special leave to appeal, saying the judgments were based on the nature of the evidence available at the sentencing hearing and were highly fact-specific.

”Accordingly, while the issues might be extremely important to the shareholders of MRS, they do not give rise to a question of general or public importance that should proceed to further appeal.”

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