‘Corporate failure’: Judge slams daycare firm over bus death

 

CAIRNS' top judge has delivered a scathing attack on the daycare company which operated a bus that a toddler was left on for six hours, describing it as "organisational or corporate failure".

In sentencing the former centre director of Edmonton Goodstart Early Learning Centre, Justice Jim Henry said while Michael Glenn Lewis, 46, had been negligent, he was also impeded by "organisationally inadequate and under-resourced arrangements" which left the centre short staffed and unable to properly handle bus collection of children.

The Cairns Supreme Court heard the centre's usual bus driver was on leave when Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo, 3, was left on the vehicle for almost six hours in February 18 last year.

A police forensic officer inspects the Goodstart van. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
A police forensic officer inspects the Goodstart van. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

MORE NEWS

How police brought down ex-bikie boss Lee Undy

Powder on beach 'could be $3m worth of cocaine'

Stab accused was 'wanted' before alleged cop attack

"Your counsel described your workplace as one in which you were doing the best with what you had," Justice Henry said, while sentencing Lewis on Wednesday.

"Just as this tragedy would not have happened if you had followed the sign-in sheet procedure, it is almost most unlikely to have happened if the centre had adequate relieve staff so that (the usual driver's) absence on leave did not leave the centre's depleted staff spread too thin to tend to the morning collection runs in the normal way.

Maliq “Meeky” Namok-Malamoo, 3, died after he was left for six hours in a day care centre bus in Cairns
Maliq “Meeky” Namok-Malamoo, 3, died after he was left for six hours in a day care centre bus in Cairns

"The driver would have been focused on the task at hand rather than performing it, as you were, as a belated hurried side task during a morning of delays and distractions arising from the inadequate suitable arrangements in place for bussing children that morning."

But Goodstart, which operates more than 600 centres around the country, has vowed it had put "safety in the spotlight" following the tragedy.

Chief executive Julia Davison said the company had been "deeply affected" by Maliq's death and had worked to improve and strengthen safety policies and procedures in the past year.

Michael Glenn Lewis enters Cairns court house. Picture: Brendan Radke
Michael Glenn Lewis enters Cairns court house. Picture: Brendan Radke

"In the past 12 months the Edmonton centre has been permanently closed and we have undertaken extensive safety reviews and trialled new technology which has resulted in further improvements to our transport and assurance policies," she said.

 

 

 

Originally published as 'Corporate failure': Top judge slams daycare company over bus death


FULL LIST: Stanthorpe Magistrates Court appearances today

Premium Content FULL LIST: Stanthorpe Magistrates Court appearances today

Here is a list of matters listed at Stanthorpe Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

MP backs royal commission into veterans’ suicide

Premium Content MP backs royal commission into veterans’ suicide

Southern Downs MP James Lister calls for 'an uninhibited search for the truth'.

Top 20 Qld suburbs sponsoring foreign kids

Premium Content Top 20 Qld suburbs sponsoring foreign kids

These are the Queensland suburbs that have dug deep to sponsor children overseas.