Coronial inquest into deaths at St Basil’s Fawkner in limbo after four years

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A coroner’s inquest into the deaths of 45 residents at St Basil’s aged care home in Fawkner, Victoria has been delayed after the facility’s managers refused to provide any evidence.

According to 9 Now, St Basil’s former Chairman, Kon Kontis and former Nursing Director, Vicky Kos both refused to give evidence on the grounds they may incriminate themselves.

The delays have left grieving family members like Spiro Vasilakis – who lost his 81-year-old mum Maria to COVID-19 at St Basil’s Fawkner in July 2020 – frustrated and angered.

Vicky Kos and Kon Kontis both declined to give evidence at the coronial inquest. Photo: 9 Now.

“I feel that the way that Vicky and Kon have behaved is cowardly,” Spiro said.

Lawyer Justin Lawrence added that the progression of the inquest was unusual.

“It’s not a usual thing to have a situation where years down the track, the coroner is still yet to hand down his findings,” Mr Lawrence said.

With the inquest on hold, Worksafe is taking St Basil’s Fawkner to court on nine charges of violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act, alleging that in July 2020, the aged care home neglected to require staff to wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

St Basil’s Fawkner is yet to enter a plea regarding Worksafe’s multiple charges, yet if found guilty, each charge carries a maximum fine of $1.49 million. Worksafe’s criminal case will return to court in July.

Source: 9 Now

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