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WHS, Regulatory and Prosecutions

Our team is discrete, trusted and has unmatched experience in Australia in the work health and safety space.

We provide proactive, industry-specific advice for the development of comprehensive incident response frameworks, compliance plans and risk-mitigation strategies.

Leading our team is Aaron Guilfoyle, former WHS Prosecutor for Queensland, who has led large teams of litigation lawyers and appeared as counsel in a number of high-profile prosecutions. Under his leadership, MacDonnells Law guarantees every client specialised advice in all aspects of WHS law and a unique insight into the WHS landscape.

Our team provides advice to clients on the full spectrum of WHS matters – from front-end compliance and risk mitigation advice, to prosecution and defence of WHS matters, including:


Guilfoyle v Ardent Leisure Ltd [2020] QMC 13

  • In this matter, the operator of Dreamworld was prosecuted in relation to the tragedy on the Thunder River Rapids Ride. Led by Aaron, the prosecution secured a guilty plea to all charges, with a record $3.6 million fine, and concluded the matter in only a little more than 6 months after the release of the Coroner’s findings.

R v Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Ltd and Ors [2020] QDC 113

  • Acting as Prosecutor, Aaron appeared as counsel in the first prosecution of industrial manslaughter ever commenced in Australia. Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to that charge on indictment and was convicted and fined $3 million in the Brisbane District Court. The company’s two directors were convicted of reckless conduct in relation to the same incident, in the first successful prosecutions of those offences in Queensland. They were each sentenced to imprisonment for 9 months, immediately suspended.

R v Cordwell Resources Pty Ltd and Anor 
(Maroochydore District Court, 8 October 2021, unreported)

  • With Aaron acting as Prosecutor, this was the first successful prosecution of a company and a director for reckless conduct charges in Queensland that did not involve a fatality. The corporate defendant was convicted and fined $500,000 and its director was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment, wholly suspended for a period of 12 months.

R v Owen
 (Gympie District Court, 25 March 2022, unreported)

  • Acting as Prosecutor, Aaron commenced the first industrial manslaughter prosecution in Australia against an individual, and the first industrial manslaughter prosecution to proceed to a jury trial. The defendant, a sole trader, operated an electrical repair business. He was operating a forklift at the time of the incident to which the prosecution related. A jury found the defendant guilty. He was convicted and sentenced to 5 years imprisonment and required to serve a minimum 18 months of that sentence

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Aimee Sanderson

Senior Associate

Daniel Whitmore

Senior Associate