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Melissa Meehan

St Basil's bosses ordered to give evidence

St Basil's chairman Kon Kontis must testify at the inquest into COVID deaths at the aged care home. (Con Chronis/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Senior staff from a Melbourne aged care home have lost their fight to stay silent about the deaths of 50 residents during a COVID-19 outbreak.

St Basil's Home for the Aged chairman Kon Kontis and director of nursing Vicky Kos have both refused to give evidence at an inquest on grounds of self-incrimination.

There were 94 residents and 94 staff members who tested positive to COVID-19 during the 2020 outbreak, with 45 residents dying from virus-related complications and another five from suspected neglect.

The pair previously took their matter to the Victoria's Supreme Court to stop State Coroner John Cain forcing them to give evidence at the inquest into the deaths, which they lost.

They were the only witnesses who refused to speak when summoned by Judge Cain.

They were unsuccessful again on Monday, after taking their case to the Court of Appeal.

Court of Appeal justices Stephen McLeish, Kristen Walker and Jack Forrest dismissed their attempt to stay silent.

In their ruling, they found it was in the interests of justice for Mr Kontis and Ms Kos to give evidence at the inquest.

They will now be forced to do so.

The home's operators are accused of failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment for employees, failing to enable workers to perform work safely, failing to ensure people other than employees were not exposed to health or safety risks, and failing to ensure the workplace and means of entering and exiting were safe and without risks to health.

WorkSafe Victoria, in July, announced it had charged St Basil's Homes for the Aged in Victoria with nine breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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