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Summings-up at Mount Murray fire trial

Roofer denies responsibility for blaze

The jury at the trial of a man accused of causing a major fire at Mount Murray has heard the prosecution and defence sum up their cases today.

Both sides have said 64-year-old Roy Cross's guilt or innocence rests on whether or not the jury decides if he was an employer.

The prosecution argues he was, meaning he can be found guilty under health and safety legislation.

The defence argues a man working for Mr Cross - Robert Williams, who has given evidence at the trial - was self-employed, so Mr Cross could not be considered his employer and was therefore not subject to the legislation he has been charged under.

The fire happened on November 7, 2013, causing extensive damage to the hotel.

According to the prosecution, Mr Cross's business, Roofcraft, had a contract of service with Mount Murray and Mr Croft brought in his son, Declan, and Mr Williams to work for him as employees.

Mike Jelski argued Mr Cross was in control, made the decisions and paid Mr Williams a regular, fixed sum of money for each day's work - 'clear evidence' he was an employer, said Mr Jelski.

He added case law states when casual workers are at work they are under contract, regardless of whether there is a written document or not.

Mr Cross's advocate, Ian Kermode, argued that if the jury was unable to decide beyond reasonable doubt his client was an employer, then every other aspect of the case was rendered irrelevant.

He pointed to Mr Williams paying his own income tax and National Insurance, a lack of sick pay and using his own tools as indications he was self-employed.

Mr Kermode said Mr Williams' comment there wouldn't be any consequences if he ever decided to leave work early was fatal to the Crown's case, 'driving a coach and horses' through the assertion he was an employee.

The trial resumes at 10am tomorrow, when Deemster Main-Thompson will sum up for the jury.

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