Wind farm fined in carbon monoxide deaths
A wind turbine company that was found responsible in the deaths of two people received its sentence in Pictou court Wednesday.
Rotor Mechanical Services Ltd. was fined a total of $95,000 after pleading guilty to three counts under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The wind farm on Mount Thom was under construction in the summer of 2009 when the bodies of Kyle Elliott, 22, and Mandi Balagot, 18, were found.
Elliott, a security guard for Rotor Mechanical, was picking up some extra shifts at the site near New Glasgow, and Balagot was there to visit. Their bodies were discovered in an upstairs office in a maintenance shed.
Autopsies concluded that the two died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Judge Del Atwood agreed to a joint sentencing recommendation from the Crown and defence. He fined the company $15,000 on each of the three counts, along with victim surcharges.
He also ordered the company to make a donation of $43,000 to a charity.
The mothers of both Elliott and Balagot were in court to hear the sentence.
Kathleen Legere, mother of Mandi Balagot, left disappointed.
"I feel the justice system has again failed a life that I raised and RMSEnergy killed my daughter and I get to live with this the rest of my days," said Legere. "I get to visit her gravesite daily for something that they did and what they took away from us."
Fines under occupational health laws doubled in the spring, but that had no bearing on this case because the incident happened two years ago.
"We are satisfied there has been a guilty verdict found in the deaths of these two people against the employer," said Kevin Finch, spokesman for the Department of Labour and Advanced Education.
Crown attorney Peter Craig said it wasn't a case where he would have recommended the maximum penalty.
"This is a sentence recommendation that counsel put to the judge which he accepted and as the judge noted this is towards the upper end of the range in this province for this kind of thing," said Craig.
"It certainly is a tragic case and I don't want to minimize that, but our view is that the judge took careful consideration of all the sentencing factors in governing case law."
Charges against RMSEnergy and three individuals working for the company were withdrawn.
The company asked for six months to pay the fine.