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Charges laid against a private crane operator stemming from the workplace death of a CUPE member were withdrawn recently, after Crown attorneys determined they had no reasonable prospect of conviction.

Millennium Crane Rentals, the crane owner and the crane operator were each charged with criminal negligence causing death following an investigation into the 2009 death of Sault Ste. Marie city worker James Vecchio.

The three accused had been among the first to be charged under the Ontario Criminal Code since Bill C-45 expanded the scope of liability for corporations. No convictions have resulted since the law was passed in 2004.

The Crown’s decision came as a result of their inability to prove causation. According to a statement from assistant Crown attorney David Kirk, expert engineers could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the condition of the crane’s braking mechanism played a direct role in Vecchio’s death.

The company and the crane operator still face five charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Vecchio was working in an excavated hole at the Fifth Line landfill when the crane, contracted by the city to work at the site, fell into the hole, pinning him.