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Man Charged Over Pool Death

By Dan Sowden

A SUNSHINE Coast lawyer has issued a warning to pool owners after a man was charged with manslaughter for not adequately fencing his pool.

The 61-year-old was watching television in his Armidale home when a two year old little boy from next door, wandered into his backyard and found his way into the pool and subsequently drowned.

Following a two month investigation, police charged the man with manslaughter last week and he has been ordered to appear in Armidale court next month.  It is understood that the man is the first person to be charged with manslaughter for not having a properly installed and maintained a pool fence.

Travis Schultz, managing partner at Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers said “This is a sad situation all round. These parents have lost their only child in what is a preventable and tragic accident and this aged grandfather is now facing very serious criminal charges. Both families’ lives will be impacted forever.”

“We are all aware that if we have a pool we have a legal obligation to ensure that pool is fenced and that the fencing is maintained to prevent such tragedies from occurring.

New pool safety laws introduced in 2009 aim to reduce the incidences of drowning and serious immersion injuries of young children in swimming pools. These laws affect new and existing pools.

Pool owners have until 30 November 2015 to comply with the new pool safety laws, or earlier if they sell or lease their property before this time.

“With the warmer months just around the corner it is a timely reminder to check your pool fencing and ensure you are complying with the laws which require all pools to be fenced and maintained to a specific standard,” Mr Schultz said.

“Having a pool fence that is in need of repair is simply not worth the risk”.

Source 11th July 2012

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