Fishing company in court after ghillie dies in river tragedy

A fishing rights company has appeared in court charged with breaking health and safety laws after a ghillie drowned at a popular angling site.

Father-of-three James Sinclair – known as Jimmy – passed away at the Canterland Rhythm of the North Esk River near the Kinnardy Pool fishing hut on August 31, 2018.

The case was called yesterday at Aberdeen Sheriff Court and Freshney Developments Limited has yet to litigate.

The Grimsby-based company is accused of violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1974 by failing to ensure the well-being at work of its employees between October 1, 2014 and August 31, 2018.

The charge against the company says it failed to put in place safe work practices, buoyancy and insulated work equipment.

He adds, “James Sinclair was exposed to drowning while doing maintenance work in and around the river in North Esk River.

Emergency services on site at River North Esk on August 31, 2018. Photo: Paul Smith

“A kind and sincere friend”

Emergency services were called to the scene near the village of Marykirk shortly after 2 p.m. following reports of a person in the river.

Teams from the Scottish Brechin and Montrose Fire and Rescue Services were also called to the scene, along with a specialized water rescue unit from Aberdeen.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, friends described Mr. Sinclair, 69, of Fettercairn, as “a wonderful family man and a kind and loyal friend.”

A tribute on a JustGiving page created in his honor said: “A lot of us knew him from the river, he always had time for his visitors there. He will always be remembered for the great man he was. Gone from this world but never forgotten.

The Freshney Development defense agent requested that the case be continued without plea for three weeks.

He will then call Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Monday July 26.

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