Plaintiff’s lay evidence has concluded in bushfire trial
After nine weeks of trial, the first phase of the plaintiff‟s case in the Kinglake-Kilmore East bushfire class action has concluded. The Court has heard evidence from 31 witnesses and received over 300 documents to establish the claims made against SP AusNet.
On Monday 20 May, our legal team will also call Mr Anthony Walley, a former Senior Lines Engineer for SP AusNet, to give evidence.
Mr Walley will give evidence that SP AusNet‟s asset management systems and practices relating to conductors were inadequate and not in accordance with appropriate asset management practices.
Justice Jack Forrest has recently handed down two important rulings which deal with the expert evidence. The first of these rulings allows the plaintiff to file a supplementary expert report prepared by Mr Henry Hawes, an engineer with expertise in line design and the impact of wind on powerlines. The report provides strong support for the plaintiff‟s case.
The other ruling allows the parties to conduct further testing in relation to the cause of the fracture of the conductor which failed on 7 February 2009.
SP AusNet has now called its first witness to give evidence and Robert Richter QC for the plaintiff has commenced his cross-examination. SP AusNet has nominated 19 lay witnesses to give evidence in support of its case and it is likely that it will take four to six weeks to hear their evidence.
The Court‟s mid-year vacation is scheduled from 22 June to 21 July 2013. The hearing of the Kinglake-Kilmore East Black Saturday bushfire class action will recommence before Justice Jack Forrest on Monday 22 July, 2013.