Employer in court over stab murder
THE mental health service that employed murdered mental health worker Michael Corkhill faced the Industrial Court of NSW in Sydney yesterday.
On Track Community Programs is being prosecuted by WorkCover over workplace health and safety breaches in relation to Mr Corkhill's death.
Mr Corkhill was stabbed to death by one of his mental health clients, David Rodriguez, during a home visit in East Lismore in 2009.
Rodriguez was charged with Mr Corkhill's murder but found not guilty on the grounds of mental illness in the Supreme Court last year.
No pleas were entered at yesterday's hearing and the case was listed for mention again in the Industrial Relations Commission on October 25 where a plea is expected.
Mr Corkhill's partner of 13 years, Giovanni Cordeiro, said he was extremely relieved that something was "finally happening".
"We are delighted that On Track is being taken to courtover Michael's death," he said.
"It really felt like the finger was being pointed at Michael for just doing his job and caring about his clients.
"We're relieved it has finally come to court and action is being taken against the organisation that Michael basically gave his life for."
Mr Cordeiro described Mr Corkhill as an extraordinary man and a "dedicated, highly skilled professional" who cared deeply about his clients.
He has no ill-will towards Rodriguez, but has been frustrated by the lack of action.
Mr Corkhill's death sent shockwaves through the mental health sector and the wider community, sparking calls for an overhaul of the current system.
On Track Community Programs Ltd is a non-government organisation that provides community-based mental health and disability support services on the NSW North Coast.
Their services include:
- Mental health Housing and Support Initiative (HASI)
- Disability Housing and Support Initiative (DHASI)
- Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) Program
- Criminal Justice Program
- Carer Respite
- Disability Employment Services
- Crisis accommodation and residential rehabilitation