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April 12, 2011

First Prosecution under UK’s Corporate Manslaughter Law

by jparker

In the first prosecution under the United Kingdom’s Corporate Manslaughter law, a private company was held responsible for a “gross breach of duty of care” that resulted in the death of an employee.

The company involved, Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings, employs eight people. Its senior management consists of Peter Eaton, who is its sole director and major shareholder. He was charged with gross negligence manslaughter and a health and safety offense, but a judge ruled last year that he was too unwell to stand trial.

The prosecution contended that the employee was working in a dangerous trench because the company had failed to take all reasonably practical steps to protect him from working in that way. During the trial, it showed that the company’s health and safety policy document had been written by Eaton in 1992 and had not been updated since that time. It also showed that the company had been warned about allowing employees to enter unsupported pits in 2005.

To read more about this decision, click HERE.

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