The bee sting death of a 61-year-old man is currently under dispute in a coronial inquest, with a honey company denying he was an employee.
The bee sting death of a 61-year-old man is currently under dispute in a coronial inquest, with a honey company denying he was an employee.

Honey company denies fatal bee sting victim was employee

IT WAS a bee sting that ended the life of 61-year-old Wallace "Wally" Edgar Bryers.

Mr Bryers died from anaphylactic shock while placing beehives with Tasiliquid Gold, now known as The Honey Pot, during January 2018.

The honey company disputes Mr Bryers was ever their employee, but that claim has been hotly refuted by Mr Bryers' family.

A coronial inquest now hopes to determine whether Mr Bryers was a worker or volunteer for the company, and therefore covered under workplace health and safety legislation.

On Wednesday, Mr Bryers' son Jarrod told the Hobart Coroner's Court that his dad had worked "on and off" for Tasiliquid Gold over a number of years.

Mr Bryers, who appeared via video link from Victoria, said he was living with his father at one stage when his dad worked performing odd jobs for the company such as mowing lawns and placing beehives at various locations across Tasmania.

But he said his father - a "cash man" who didn't have a cheque book or a credit card - was always paid cash-in-hand so his earnings wouldn't affect his Centrelink benefits.

He said his father would often come home with his hands swollen by bee stings.

Mr Bryers responded angrily to suggestions that his father hadn't been employed by Tasiliquid Gold.

"Is any of this bulls… going to bring my father back?" he said.

"He died on one of their job sites."

Wally Bryers. Picture: Facebook
Wally Bryers. Picture: Facebook

Mr Bryers questioned Tasiliquid Gold's workplace safety processes and how it managed his father's injuries.

"Even if he wasn't working there, it's still their duty of care … did they have an EpiPen?" he said.

"They didn't have proper First Aid training … their daughter was slapping my dad's face trying to keep him awake."

He also denied suggestions he was "telling untruths" out of a desire to make someone accountable for his father's death.

"I don't want this to happen to anyone else," Mr Bryers said.

Mr McKee will hand down his findings at a later date.

A Tasiliquid Gold Honey stall at the Huon Show.
A Tasiliquid Gold Honey stall at the Huon Show.

amber.wilson@news.com.au

 

 

Originally published as Honey company denies fatal bee sting victim was employee