Jumping castle to be examined in Hillcrest court case

Two experts will examine the jumping castle used in the Hillcrest Primary School tragedy ahead of a court hearing for alleged safety breaches.

Two experts will examine the jumping castle used in the Hillcrest Primary School tragedy ahead of a court hearing for alleged safety breaches. Photo: AAP

The jumping castle at the centre of the fatal Hillcrest Primary School tragedy will be examined by experts ahead of a likely two-week court hearing for alleged criminal workplace breaches.

Rosemary Anne Gamble, the owner of Taz-Zorb which supplied and set up the castle, has pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with workplace health and safety requirements.

Six children were killed and several badly injured when the inflatable castle was lifted into the air at the school in northwest Tasmania in December 2021.

Gamble, who was charged in November, listened via phone dial-in in the Devonport Magistrates Court on Friday during her second court appearance.

Her lawyer Christopher Dockray said the defence team had engaged a geotechnical engineer and inflatable device expert.

Dockray said the pair would inspect the castle as well as the school’s oval and prepare reports by the end of June.

“Expert evidence is going to be the cornerstone of this case I suspect,” he said.

The court was told a hearing would likely take two weeks, with Magistrate Duncan Fairley setting down September 2 as a tentative start date.

Dockray and crown prosecutor Madeleine Wilson noted sensitivities around where the castle would be placed for examination.

“If it is visible to the public in Devonport, that would be quite traumatic for the community,” Dockray said.

Gamble was granted a continuation of bail with the matter expected to return to court for another mention in early July.

Wilson said a police forensic officer who had previously taken 1000 photographs of the castle would create a 3D model when it was set up.

Chace Harrison, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, Zane Mellor, Addison Stewart, Jye Sheehan and Peter Dodt were enjoying end-of-year celebrations on the school oval when the castle became airborne.

According to court documents, seven students were on the castle when a “significant” weather event occurred, causing it to become dislodged.

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.

The castle was tethered at four of its eight anchorage points, it is alleged.

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.

Gamble arrived at the school with two workers and set up the castle and zorb balls.

She’s accused of failing to provide the workers with information including the manufacturer’s operating manual for the castle.


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