Steelworkers Pursue Private Prosecution Under Westray Provisions of Criminal
Code Against Weyerhaeuser for 2004 Millworker's Death

A media backgrounder is available here. (http://www.usw.ca/program/adminlinks/docs//Media_Backgrounder_USW_D3.pdf)

BURNABY, BC, March 26 /CNW/ - Today the United Steelworkers (USW) launched a private prosecution before a Justice of the Peace in the New Westminster Provincial Courthouse, alleging that Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd. was criminally negligent in the death of sawmill worker Lyle Hewer on November 17, 2004.

The charge is based on an allegation that Hewer died as a result of injuries incurred at Weyerhaeuser's New West Division sawmill, after following a supervisor's request to work under conditions the employer knew were hazardous. Hewer was taken to the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster where he succumbed to his injuries.

The USW alleges that the company was criminally negligent in Hewer's death by omitting to do anything that it was their responsibility to do, and showed wanton, or reckless disregard for the lives, or safety of other persons. The USW alleges that Hewer, a 55-year old member of USW Local Union 1-3567, died as a result of the company's inaction, while clearing out a hog under Weyerhaeuser's direction.

"Crown Counsel rejected the recommendation of the New Westminster Police that a charge of criminal negligence causing death was warranted against Weyerhaeuser," says USW Western Canada District Director Stephen Hunt. "Therefore we have been left with no alternative other than pursuing a private prosecution to see that justice is done."

"It is our view that this case must go to trial under the 2004 Westray amendments to the Criminal Code and that the evidence will show that the Company is criminally responsible for Lyle Hewer's death. Weyerhaeuser must be held accountable if convicted," says Hunt.

Acting on behalf of the USW, is prominent criminal lawyer Glen Orris.

Orris expects that a Court date will be shortly set for a "Process Hearing" before a Provincial Court Judge who has the authority to issue a Summons against Weyerhaeuser.

Hewer's surviving family members support the USW's initiative in seeking justice for their loved one's death. They request that the media respect their privacy and direct all inquiries to the USW.

A media backgrounder is available here. (http://www.usw.ca/program/adminlinks/docs//Media_Backgrounder_USW_D3.pdf)

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: on the USW's private pursuit of legal action: Contact Stephen Hunt, (604) 816-2554 or (604) 683-1117; For information on legal proceedings: Contact Glen Orris, (604) 669-6711


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