FourFourtwo coal miners have taken a plea deal to avoid being charged with criminal manslaughter for their role in the 2013 death of a woman at a coal mine in northern Queensland.
FourFourtwo: Three coal miners plead guilty to manslaughter at the Great Western mine on the Goldfields.
The plea deal has been accepted by the Queensland Court of Appeal, according to the ABC.
The victims’ family members and other victims’ supporters, including some from the mining industry, took to social media to express their grief at the outcome of the case.
FourFourTwo: Three Queensland miners plead to manslaughter for killing woman in coal mine.
Source FourFour2: Three miners plead not guilty to murder at the Goldfield mine.
At the hearing on Tuesday, the three men, Michael Ritchie, John Glynn and Robert Smith, each pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter, two counts of criminally negligent homicide and one count each of negligent injury to a person and manslaughter.
Both Ritchie and Smith have also agreed to undergo anger management classes and to undergo a mental health assessment.
Ritchie will also have to pay $12,000 in compensation.
It is the second murder conviction in Queensland this year.
In June, James Huggins was convicted of killing a woman and her three children at a mining camp near Wattleup, in the north-west of the state.
Huggins, 51, had been working at the mine since 1999, but was sacked in April 2016 for his role in killing the family.
James Huggings, 51 (right), who was convicted at the Wattle up mine in 2016, has been remanded in custody and will not be eligible for parole until 2021.
Source: Supplied The sentencing of Mr Huggers is expected to take place in January 2019.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described the decision to charge the men as “the right thing to do”.
Queenas Premier Annacacia Palauszczak (centre) and Deputy Premier James D’Ambrosio speak at the sentencing of three men in the Wanker mine massacre.
“I want to thank the families and friends of those lost in this tragic accident and the Queensland Police Service for their assistance in the investigation,” Ms Palaszyczuk said.
She said the men had taken the “great risk of their lives” to rescue the woman from the mine and that “the police investigation is now finished”.
The Queensland Government said it was disappointed with the verdict and the sentence.
Ms Palasczuk called on the Queensland Government to “reconsider” its previous decision to allow the miners to be released from custody.
Mr D’Ambrosio also welcomed the verdict, which he said was “a fair decision” in the case of the men.
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