A time of celebration turned to endless sorrow for the parents of Australian teen David Vinnicombe, who died far from home on a job site in Inuvik in June 2016.
“Grief haunts our every moment of every miserable day,” his father, Robbie Vinnicombe, appearing by webcam, told territorial court Tuesday, Dec. 5.
Allen Services Ltd. and supervisor Brian McCarthy Sr. were facing nine charges under the NWT Safety Act. After Allen Services pleaded guilty to improperly supervising a worksite, the parties agreed to drop the other charges.
David Vinnicombe was working for Allen Services on the road to the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility when he was killed in a heavy machinery accident shortly before his 20th birthday.
“Instead of planning a party, we were planning a funeral,” said mother Renee Vinnicombe through webcam.
“A part of us is missing.”
Robbie talked about the lack of justice in the world and how bad people can roam the streets while his son’s life was tragically ended too soon.
“Davey boy, I swear to God Mom and I will defend you until the day we die,” he said.
McCarthy was in attendance for the court hearing and was visibly emotional following the Vinnicombes’ statement.
The Crown and defence made a joint submission for a $100,000 fine to Allen Services for the charge of not properly supervising a work site.
Crown prosecutor Roger Shepard said that Vinnicombe had not been wearing a seatbelt during the incident when the heavy machinery he was using tipped over. Vinnicombe was crushed during the accident. The courtroom also heard that no supervisor was on site at the time, with McCarthy working about 1.5 miles away.
Factors involved in the case included Allen Services not properly instructing employees to wear seatbelts and Vinnicombe not receiving proper training for the machinery he was using.
Defence lawyer Robert O’Neill noted that Allen Services had already spent more than $37,000 on costs related to the incident, such as flying family members to Inuvik, creating a memorial for Vinnicombe and flying his body back home to Australia.
O’Neill said that the toxicology report for Vinnicombe found that he had cannabis in his system, though O’Neill was not necessarily presenting that as a factor in the accident.
McCarthy declined to comment when given the opportunity.
Sentencing was rescheduled for Feb. 20, 2018.