Baffinland’s plea on safety violation charges expected this month

Mining company faces 16 charges under the Mine Health and Safety Act

Baffinland’s defence counsel says it’s reasonable to expect the company to make a plea later this month on charges it faces under the territory’s Mine Health and Safety Act. (File photo)

By Emma Tranter

A lawyer for Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. says it is reasonable to expect the company to make a plea later this month on charges it faces under the Mine Health and Safety Act.

The mining company, which operates the Mary River iron mine outside Pond Inlet, faces 16 charges under Nunavut’s Mine Health and Safety Act. Those charges stem from a rock truck crash at the mine that killed one worker in Dec. 2018.

The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission filed the charges at the Nunavut court on Dec. 5, 2019. None of these charges have been proven in court.

Appearing before justice of the peace Joseph Murdoch-Flowers on Feb. 27, 2020, Crown lawyer Larry Reynolds told the court that he and Glen Jennings, defence counsel for Baffinland, had spoken since the company’s last court appearance.

“We are currently in a situation where Mr. Jennings and I have had conversations since the last appearance. His client still requires some additional time as I understand it before they are prepared to enter their plea,” Reynolds said, speaking to the courtroom on speakerphone.

Reynolds added that he was prepared to grant that additional time, which works out to another month.

“At which point the prosecution is anticipating that we may receive a plea in this matter which will allow us to provide direction on the file,” Reynolds said.

Jennings said he had received disclosed information from the prosecution shortly before the company’s last appearance and was in the process of reviewing it.

“We need to coordinate with our client … and the gathering of other materials in respect of what is a fairly extensive investigation, an extensive amount of disclosure, as well with the fact that there are a significant number of charges and it’s obviously a serious case as well,” Jennings said, also on speakerphone.

Jennings agreed that after extensively reviewing the disclosure, it would be reasonable to expect a plea at the next appearance.

“It’s reasonable, not guaranteed, but reasonable to anticipate that we will be in a position to enter a plea on the next occasion,” Jennings said.

Murdoch-Flowers asked if further legal steps would be taken at the next appearance or if just the plea would be entered that day.

The plea would be the only matter that day, Reynolds said, which would then give the Crown guidance as to what the next steps would be.

Baffinland’s next court appearance will be on March 26 at 9:30 a.m. in Justice of the Peace Court at the Nunavut Court of Justice.

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(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by Former employee on

    The berm on the haul road was not high enough to stop the rock truck, the berm was a also like a ramp with snow at the toe of the catch berm. Poor guy went over the berm, flew 300 feet down hill, landed and rolled down hill another 200 feet.

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