Court hears from owner of rubbish truck that crushed teen to death

The family of a 19-year-old woman killed when she was crushed by a rubbish truck is facing a nervous wait for a verdict on her death.

Jane Devonshire was a rubbish collector standing on the back of a truck when its brakes failed.

The truck's owner, Truck Leasing Limited, is on trial for not maintaining the vehicle properly. It has pleaded not guilty under the Health and Safety Act. 

"A quarter of weekly services were missed consistently," police prosecutor Ned Fletcher says.

The truck fleet was worn out, and a warning light that alerts drivers to problems with the brakes wasn't working.

"TLL's concern was to keep the repair bills down," says Mr Fletcher.

Truck Leasing Limited says it couldn't have known the vehicle had deteriorated. It says although it authorised and paid for repairs to its truck, a second company operated it and a third called NPD carried out the maintenance.

But defence lawyer Phil Mitchell says there was "systemic management failure at NPD and a fairly mediocre mechanical workforce there".

Other companies have pleaded guilty under the Health and Safety Act to their part, and they've been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands in reparation.

The judge has reserved his decision, and within a few weeks is expected to decide whether the truck's owner could also have done more to prevent Ms Devonshire's death.