Ben Catanzariti inquest to be reopened after differing expert reports found

Kay Catanzariti leaves the ACT Magistrates Court holding her sons ashes and wearing his jumper in May.
Kay Catanzariti leaves the ACT Magistrates Court holding her sons ashes and wearing his jumper in May.

A coronial inquest into the workplace death of a Riverina man will be reopened after three experts gave different reports on what happened.

Ben Catanzariti was just 21 years old when he was killed by a falling concrete boom on a Canberra building site in 2012. Bolts on the boom had sheared off and charges were laid against a maintenance company and an engineer, but in May prosecutors dropped all charges after reports failed to prove they were responsible.

According to ABC News, the ACT Coroners Court allowed time for three experts to review each other’s differing reports on what caused the bolts to fail, despite protests from lawyers representing the maintenance company.

Lawyers for Schwing Australia were reportedly concerned if new issues emerged the process could end up back where it started.

“But isn't that the purpose of the inquest?” Coroner Karen Fryer replied.

Mr Catanzariti’s family would not comment on the reopening of the case, which came as the federal government passed a controversial piece of legislation.

A bill to reinstate the Australian Building and Construction Commission, which led to the July federal election, was passed this week despite union claims it would lead to a spike in construction deaths.

The cruel irony for Kay Catanzariti, Ben’s mother, will be that a ‘promised’ Senate inquiry into workplace deathsremains elusive.

Mrs Catanzariti told The Daily Advertiser in October that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce had made a commitment to help establish an inquiry before the ABCC bill was presented to parliament. Mr Joyce’s office was contacted several times but no response was forthcoming.

It is believed the terms of reference for an inquiry are still with shadow workplace minister Brendan O’Connor, whom Mrs Catanzariti had also met with. 

The ACT Coroners Court confirmed the inquest will be in court on January 19, 2017 for directions.


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