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    DIRECTOR MANSLAUGHTER CASE HITS BUFFERS

    Corporate Manslaughter prosecution proceeds as case against director halted

    The managing director of Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings Ltd, Peter Eaton, will no longer face gross negligence manslaughter charges following the death of geologist Alexander Wright, aged 27, in Sptember 2008.

    Alexander was taking soil samples from inside a pit which had been excavated as part of a site survey when the sides of the pit collapsed crushing him. 

    At a recent hearing, at Bristol Crown Court, Mr Justice Field ruled that charges against Mr Eaton under gross negligence manslaughter and HSW Act Section 37 should be halted due to the ill-health of Mr Eaton.

    However, proceedings against the corporate entity will continue under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (CMCH). This is the first case to be heard under the Act that came into force in April 2008.

    The trial in respect of the company has been adjourned until 24 January 2011.

    Lawyer questions public interest   

    The Safety and Health Practitioner has reported that Sally Roft, partner with law firm Beachcroft, has questioned the value of continuing with the CMCH charges.

    She said:

    “at a time when there is so much scrutiny over the effective use of public funds, one wonders what is to be gained from pursuing a ‘shell’ company.

    There is little prospect of a significant fine being levied on any conviction and it is unlikely there will be any meaningful guidance on how the CMCH Act is to be interpreted”

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