Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Aid refused for engineer death probe

The family of a Northern Ireland engineer killed after safety systems on his equipment failed has been denied public funds for legal representation, an inquest heard.

Restrictions on aid mean relatives of young father Gareth Keys (27) cannot appoint a lawyer to probe concerns raised by a safety expert, a preliminary hearing in Belfast was told.

Mr Keys, from Victoria Road in Belfast, was servicing an elevated platform in May 2008 while working for a Dunmurry plant hire firm.

His family's solicitor Sam Creighton said that a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) official reported that two safety systems on the machine failed at the time of his death. The scissor lift was extended beyond its maximum height and was able to be moved in that position. Mr Creighton said: "This is a death which has obviously left these two children without a father. The deceased died on this piece of scissor-lift equipment."

Legal aid is paid by the Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission (NILSC) to help people who cannot afford a lawyer access justice. The solicitor said despite the safety issues raised his aid application had been refused.

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