Queensland police have recommended no criminal charges be laid over the Dreamworld ride disaster, however park employees and the Gold Coast theme park’s owners still face potential prosecution.
In a report to the Queensland coroner, police say no Dreamworld staff should be prosecuted for the incident nearly a year ago, in which a ride malfunctioned, killing four people.
However a police spokesperson said it would be up to the coroner whether any staff were eventually charged.
“Police have recommended no criminal charges be laid, but obviously that’s only a recommendation, the coroner may come back with suggestions relating to prosecution,” the spokesman told AAP.
The park’s owner, Ardent Leisure, could still face potential prosecution by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, with penalties including six years jail and fines of almost $4 million.
As part of its two-volume submission to the coroner, police are understood to have also recommended a coronial inquest be held into the tragedy.
Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett and Roozi Araghi were killed on October 25, 2016 when the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned.
The ride was nearly 30 years old and one of the theme park’s iconic attractions, and it’s also understood a young female employee was was on her first day of operating the ride when it malfunctioned.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland handed its report into the incident to the state government last month, and government lawyers are now assessing the report to see if any charges should be laid.
The state government passed new industrial manslaughter laws earlier this month, with maximum penalties of 20 years imprisonment for an individual or maximum fine of $10 million for a corporate offender.
However the laws are not retrospective, so would not apply to the Dreamworld tragedy.
Queensland Coroner James McDougall told media last year that he hoped an inquest would be held this year, however it now seems the earliest any inquest would be held is 2018.