Forklift driver cleared in worker's death

Robyn Wuth
·1-min read

A forklift driver who crushed a workmate against his own truck has been found not guilty of dangerous driving causing death.

Barry James Willis, 58, was loading tyres at Brisbane Auto Recycling at Rocklea on May 17, 2019, when he was hit by the reversing forklift and critically injured.

He died in hospital eight days later.

Mohammad Ali Yaqubi was found not guilty of dangerous driving, causing death by a District Court jury trial on Monday.

The jury deliberated for little over an hour before clearing Mr Yaqubi of the charge.

Mr Yaqubi, who speaks little English and relied on an interpreter in court, did not deny driving the forklift or causing the accident. But his defence team successfully argued he was not driving dangerously.

CCTV footage showed Mr Willis standing facing his truck when the four-tonne forklift reversed, hitting him with enough force to rock the truck from side to side.

Mr Willis struggled to remain upright, clinging to the truck tray before collapsing to the ground.

He suffered catastrophic injuries including separation of the spine, a fractured pelvis and significant internal bleeding.

In June, the directors of Brisbane Auto Recycling were found guilty of reckless conduct causing the death of Mr Willis in Queensland's first sentence for industrial manslaughter.

Company directors Asadullah Hussaini, 25, and Mohammad Ali Jan Karimi, 23, were sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment, wholly suspended, and fined $3 million.