No charges in Lakeland Mills sawmill explosion that killed 2
Crown cites flaws in WorkSafeBC's investigation, concludes conviction unikely
The Criminal Justice Branch has decided no charges will be laid in the fire and explosion that occurred April 2012 at the sawmill operated by Lakeland Mills Ltd in Prince George, B.C.
Citing flaws in WorkSafeBC's investigation, the Crown has concluded a conviction would be unlikely.
In a written statement, the Crown says no search warrants were obtained by WorkSafeBC during the initial investigation at the sawmill.
It also says a number of areas of potentially relevant evidence were left unexplored.
This includes direct evidence on how much Lakeland Mills directors and management knew about sawdust conditions at the mill, and the risks of an explosion.
It's the second time this year the Criminal Justice Branch has refused to lay charges related to a deadly sawmill explosion, and the second time it has cited failures in WorksafeBC's investigative procedures.
In January, the Criminal Justice Branch also declined to lay charges in a sawmill explosion at the Babine Forest Products sawmill in Burns Lake, B.C. a small town about 900 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.
Workers and their families from both sawmills have been demanding a public inquiry into the explosions, and WorkSafeBC investigations.
The explosion at the Lakeland Mills facility killed Alan Little, 43, and Glenn Roche, 46, and injured 24 people.
In February, WorkSafeBC recommended to prosecutors that charges be laid under the Workers Compensation Act.
The Lakeland Mills explosion in Prince George happened just a few months after a similar explosion at the Burns Lake sawmill, which also killed two workers.
- Prince George sawmill 'ball of flame' kills 1, injures 24
- Burns Lake sawmill blast probe 'deeply disappointed' Christy Clark
WorkSafeBC recommended charges in that explosion as well, butCrown prosecutors said they could not be laid because of theflawed investigation by WorkSafeBC.