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Fourth Company Charged Under the Corporate Manslaughter Act

9 November 2012
 November 9, 2012

This past week, another company has been charged by The Crown Prosecution Service with corporate manslaughter in relation to a death which occurred two years ago.

Grzegorz Pieton died in July 2010 from an electric shock, caused when the metal hydraulic-lift trailer he was towing touched an overhead power line.

The incident occurred at Belmont flower nursery, which is run by PS & JE Ward Ltd, based in King’s Lynn.

Belmont Nursery becomes the fourth company to face charges under the Act since it came into effect in 2007. The act enables prosecution of companies and organisations who breach their Duty of Care to employees and contractors.

The company’s representatives are set to appear in court on 23 November. Belmont Nursery is the third company the Crown Prosecution Service has charged with corporate manslaughter since its inception. All three previous companies faced charges in the past year, highlighting the increasing use of the Act.

Also this past year, a farming company received the largest ever health and safety fine in Northern Ireland following the first corporate manslaughter conviction there.

The Cost to Business?

The Sentencing Council guidelines state that a Corporate Manslaughter fine should be at least £500,000. But it is no defence for an employer to say that they did not have the time, money or resources to reduce risk.

There is the possibility of courts imposing publicity orders which can tarnish reputations, lower staff morale and in the worst cases, prison sentences for seniors managers found to be negligent.

Read more about the Corporate Manslaughter Act.

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