Mock Trial /

Shock to the (WHS) system – mock trial presented by Sparke Helmore Lawyers

Routine works were undertaken on a high-voltage electrical line and were all but complete – until a missing nut was identified from a cross arm. A seemingly quick fix, the worker returned to replace it, and sustained serious injuries while doing so.

While this year’s fictional case is about high-voltage work, it’s a situation that can just as easily be translated to apply to other work and machinery – a fall from a height or a crush injury from a piece of equipment.

Sparke Helmore’s interactive court simulation will provide insight into the prosecution process and what happens when a worker, supervisor and manager are called as witnesses, and highlight important legal issues.

The session has been designed to prompt you to rethink how your day-to-day actions could be perceived by a judge when deciding whether legislation has been breached. It will provide you with an understanding of the:

  • duties of workers and officers under the Work Health and Safety legislation and how their day-to-day actions or omissions can breach the Act;
  • type of questions witnesses may be asked in the courtroom; and
  • decision a judge is likely to reach based on the evidence, health and safety legislation, and statutory guidelines.

Meet the team

Bill Kritharas – Partner

Bill Kritharas is an experienced work health and safety lawyer who takes a commercial and practical approach to advising clients, managing incidents and resolving legal problems. Through his involvement in many different organisations, Bill has developed the skills that enable him to quickly understand a client’s operating environment and requirements, so that he implements commercial solutions that add value to his clients.

Bill advises on WHS systems, policies and procedures, and provides training on WHS obligations and compliance. Bill also assists employers to respond to SafeWork NSW investigations and prosecutions, and assists with the implementation of incident corrective actions. He has acted in many high- profile workplace incidents and in complex litigation.

Carlie Holt – Partner

Carlie is often the first point of contact for her clients where their colleagues have been seriously injured or even killed — these are times when people are at their most vulnerable. She is usually onsite within hours of an incident occurring. Her focus is on minimising the stress for all involved, then forensically investigating the circumstance/s to prepare a thorough defence or alternative.

She regularly appears for clients in Coronial Inquests and has successfully defended WHS prosecutions in the Industrial Court and most recently, the District Court of NSW for companies, and has successfully had charges withdrawn against several directors in separate proceedings.

Carlie also provides tailored legal briefings to all levels within an organisation from the board and executive level to operational personnel regarding their WHS responsibilities.

Carlie’s clients praise her accessibilit and pragmatic approach, and for always focusing on achieving the best result possible.

Rossana Parmegiani – Special Counsel

Rossana Parmegiani regularly represents and advises a cross-section of public and private sector clients on WHS compliance, incident investigations and SafeWork prosecutions.

Rossana was formerly the principal lawyer in the prosecutions branch of WorkCover NSW (as it was then), and understands the processes involved and the best way to deal with various stages of SafeWork investigations.

The deep knowledge gained both in her former role and subsequent to that helps her guide clients facing prosecution to make appropriate decisions.

Rossana also advises officers and managers in the public and private sector from investigation stage to prosecution stage and uses her skills as a litigator to help individuals required to give evidence in public and private inquiries before the ICAC.

Ian Bennett  Senior Associate

Ian Bennett is an experienced workplace lawyer specialising in employee relations, work health and safety (WHS) and coronial inquests. He provides practical and pragmatic advice to help effectively manage complex legal issues arising in the workplace.

Recently, Ian completed secondments as an Employee Relations Consultant for a major national retailer and also as In-House Legal counsel (Employment and Litigation) for a Commonwealth Agency.

Ian’s expansive workplace law practice combined with his in-house experience enables him to quickly identify and assist in managing potential flow-on effects such as public relations and the media, union relationships, commercial arrangements, insurances, regulatory compliance and workplace culture.

Last year, Ian won the Lawyers Weekly 30 under 30 Award in the Workplace Relations category which recognises the exceptional talents and best young lawyers across Australia.

Susan Withycombe-Taperell  Senior Associate

Susan Withycombe-Taperell is a work health and safety lawyer who has extensive experience advising clients on compliance and regulatory matters relating to WHS and heavy vehicle road transport. Susan regularly assists clients across a range of industries, including energy, construction, manufacturing, retail, transport and agriculture, in the management of workplace incidents, potential liability, WHS management systems, policies and compliance.

Susan provides clear, concise and practical advice that helps clients easily understand the complexity of their obligations and potential liability under the specific legislation, while identifying practical and workable solutions. She has developed a broad skill set arising from her experience within a number of court jurisdictions.