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CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER ACT 2007 PROSECUTIONS

Paucity of prosecutions reflects lack of police investigative powers for CMCH

An article by Jonathan Grimes (partner and health and safety expert at lawyers Kingsley Napley) in the online journal The Lawyer concludes that a lack of police powers is preventing effective corporate manslaughter investigations and prosecutions.

On the fourth anniversary of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (CMCH) coming into force Grimes argues:

  • one company has been convicted to date (Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings in February 2011) and one other is due to stand trial in summer 2012;
  • complexity and delay account partly for the low number of cases;
  • unsuitability of police powers for investigating suspected corporate offending is also a crucial factor;
  • HSE investigate companies routinely and have powers better suited to CMCH investigations.

Grime concludes that the CMCH offence would “lend ­itself far better to investigation by an agency such as the HSE” and that “until the challenges facing those tasked with investigating the offence are recognised, it is likely that corporate manslaughter prosecutions will ­remain few in number”.

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