A jumping castle operator charged with workplace safety breaches over the Hillcrest Primary School tragedy in which six children died has pleaded not guilty.
Chace Harrison, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, Zane Mellor, Addison Stewart, Jye Sheehan and Peter Dodt were killed after the inflatable castle was lifted into the air in December 2021.
They were enjoying end-of-year celebrations with classmates on the oval of the school in Devonport in Tasmania’s northwest.
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Rosemary Anne Gamble, the operator of a company called Taz-Zorb which supplied and set up the castle, was charged in November with failing to comply with workplace health and safety requirements.
Gamble appeared in Devonport Magistrates Court on Friday morning and entered a plea of not guilty.
She was granted bail and is expected to next appear in court in March.
It is alleged the castle was tethered at four of its eight anchorage points.
It is also alleged pegs were not installed at the recommended 45-degree angle and pegs recommended by the manufacturer, or a suitable alternative, weren’t used.
According to court documents, seven students were on the castle when a “significant” weather event occurred, causing it to become dislodged and airborne.
They fell from the castle, while a blower attached to the castle to keep it inflated struck a nearby student.
It is alleged Gamble failed to ensure the anchorage system was sufficient to prevent the castle from lifting and failed to ensure there was a peg at each anchor point in line with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Gamble arrived at the school with two workers, and set up the castle and zorb balls.
It is also alleged she failed to provide the workers with information including the manufacturer’s operating manual for the castle.