Jason Garrels was just 20 when he was electrocuted after carrying a switchboard that had come into contact with live wires during heavy rain at a construction site for townhouses February 2012 in Clermont, Central Queensland. Jason had only been working there for 9 days and hadn’t even received his first pay cheque.
The electrical contractor responsible for Mr Garrels’ death, Nathan Brian Day, was sentenced to seven years’ jail for manslaughter and perjury. Day will be eligible for parole after serving two years behind bars. Prosecutor Todd Fuller QC said Mr Garrels’ death was “tragic and preventable” and Day held sole responsibility for the electrical work at the site. He said Day didn’t install safety switches which were designed to prevent electrocution and he had no experience of a project that size.
The court heard Day returned to the construction immediately after the death to render the site safe. The prosecution described Day’s conduct as “deceitful” and “calculated”. Day also pleaded guilty to perjury, for lying about the safety switches at a 2015 inquest in Mackay into Jason Garrels death. Defence barrister Tony Glynn QC said his client was deeply remorseful and he never intended to harm anybody. “He took on something that was far beyond his capacity,” Mr Glynn said.
Worksafe Queensland have produced in conjunction with Jason’s family a short video titled Jason’s story which takes a confronting, very honest look into the heartache of losing a son and a mate to a preventable workplace incident. The video can be located at https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/forms-and-resources/films/jasons-story