The Mother of Joshua Disdel, 18 from Holbeach has spoken of her anguish as she faces a four-year wait for justice following the tragic death of her son after a workplace incident.
Joshua’s mum Fiona-Jane Lobley, 39, who lives in Brant Broughton, said progressing the case through the courts has been beset with delays. She said: “I want justice. Time has elapsed so much and by the time next year comes it will be four years.”
Joshua was working at the White Bridges site off St Thomas Drive, in Boston, when he was allegedly involved in what was described as a road traffic collision at around 8.45am on Friday, July 13, 2018. The teenager, who was just 16 days into his job as groundsman, died in hospital.
A post mortem examination established the cause of death as a haemorrhage from traumatic liver injury.
The Health and Safety Executive has since brought a prosecution. Two businesses and one individual are set to stand trial in April next year accused of health and safety at work breaches. A second person has admitted breaching health and safety.
Fiona-Jane Lobley said “I’m just in no-man’s land and my hope was for a trial date sooner than next year. I know Covid has had a massive impact but my son died before Covid so why has this not been put forward before?. The HSE in their defence have pushed and pushed to get dates but it all boils down to the crown court. In March they were supposed to set a trial date for this year during a video link but they didn’t even talk about it. Then there was communication from the HSE to try to agree on a date with the court and they were given April 25 next year – take it or leave it.”
Ms Lobley, who has two other children, says she has not been kept in the loop about potential court dates and that she has not seen an official report into the incident.
She described frantic phone calls with Joshua as he was being blue-lighted in an ambulance to a hospital in Nottingham on the day of the incident.
She said: “I spoke to him twice and he kept saying: ‘Am I going to die?’. He lost consciousness before he got to Nottingham and died eight hours later.”
An HSE spokesman confirmed that a trial is listed at Lincoln Crown Court on April 25, 2022, scheduled for three weeks.
Brent Woods, construction manager for P&R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd, is charged with breaching Section 7 of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
D. Brown (Building Contractors) Ltd is accused of breaching Section 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and Darrell Tripp, site manager for D. Brown, is charged with breaching Section 7 of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
P&R Plant Hire (Lincolnshire) Ltd pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
The spokesman added: “These proceedings are active, we won’t be providing a comment at this time.”
A HM Courts and Tribunals spokesperson said: “Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Joshua Disdel. The pandemic has posed challenges for complex trials like this involving multiple defendants and witnesses where it can take longer to find a suitable time for all those involved. We are investing hundreds of millions to further increase court capacity, deliver swifter justice and support victims.”
Courts continue to prioritise the most serious cases where the safety of the public and individuals is a concern.