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Construction firm and Council deny safety breaches which led to man’s death in Co Armagh forest park

Electrician Matthew Campbell and his fiancée Robyn Newberry
Electrician Matthew Campbell and his fiancée Robyn Newberry

A construction company and a district council today (Thursday) denied health and safety offences arising from the tragic death of an electrician who was killed during a storm.

Standing in the dock of Newry Crown Court, representatives for Lagan Construction Ltd and Newry Mourne & Down Council entered not guilty pleas to all of the respective charges.

NMD council and Lagan Construction Ltd are each charged with two offences of breaching health and safety legislation on September 19, 2018.

The council, with their head offices at Downshire Civic Centre in Downpatrick and Lagan Construction Ltd, with offices on the Sydenham Road in Belfast, are both charged with failing to make appropriate risk assessments for non-employees and employees respectively.

They are also charged with failing to ensure, so far as would be reasonable practicable, to ensure the health and safety of employees and non-employees.

The charges arise following the tragic death of 24-year-old electrician Matt Campbell who was working for Lagan Construction at Slieve Gullion Forest Park in Co Armagh as strong winds lashed Northern Ireland during Storm Ali in September 2018.

Just the week beforehand, Matt and his fiancée Robyn Newberry had sent out ‘save the date’ cards in preparation for their wedding in August the following year and on the day tragedy struck, she had collected the couples’ wedding rings.

In court today, defence KCs for the two defendants and prosecuting counsel Fiona O’Kane were all agreed that the trial would “take upwards of two weeks” to hear.

Provisionally, Judge Gordon Kerr KC scheduled it to begin in November but said he would review the case at the end of the month.

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