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COUNCIL FINED FOLLOWING DEATH OF CHILD

Boundary wall collapse due to Council failure to maintain in safe condition 

Camden Council has today (04/02/11) been fined £72,000 and ordered it to pay prosecution costs of £65,000 after pleading guilty to breaching HSW Act Section 3 at an earlier hearing.

The case arose from the death of two-year-old Saurav Ghai who died when sections of a boundary wall fell onto him as he walked with his childminder along a north London street in January 2007.

Southwark Crown Court heard how the pair were walking in high winds when a section of the boundary wall from the Wendling Estate collapsed. They were taken to the Royal Free hospital where Saurav died. His childminder suffered injuries.

Organisations must keep their building stock ‘safe’

Camden Council pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing after being charged with breaching section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The council was responsible for maintaining the wall. After the sentencing, the child’s father Mr Vinay Ghai said:

“We are grateful to the HSE for their efforts and persistence when dealing with the Council, for keeping us involved at different stages of the investigation and being understanding of our frustration at many times during this period.”

Without HSE involvement we would never have found out the proper facts that led to Saurav’s death. It has been four years since our son was killed and we hope his short life will at the very least highlight the importance of the care required to make our public places safer.”

HSE Inspector Michael La Rose said:

“Saurav should have been able to walk down the street without his life being put at risk, tragically this wasn’t the case.His parents are now facing life without their son because this council simply failed to maintain a wall which was in a poor condition.

This tragic incident should serve as a reminder to all organisations to keep their building stock safe, including boundary walls.”

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