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CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER FOLLOWS POWER STRIKE

Trailer contact with overhead powerline caused death of workman 

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced that PS & JE Ward Ltd of King’s Lynn has been charged with corporate manslaughter. This is the third company the CPS has charged with corporate manslaughter since the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act in 2008. A fourth company has been successfully prosecuted under the Act in Northern Ireland.

Principal Crown Advocate (Special Crime and Counter Terrorism), Rene Barclay said:

“I have carefully considered the evidence and have concluded that it is sufficient to charge PS & JE Ward Ltd, based at King’s Lynn, with corporate manslaughter and with failing to discharge a duty imposed by section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

The charges against the company relate to the tragic death of Grzegorz Krystian Pieton on 15 July 2010 from an electric shock caused when the metal hydraulic lift trailer he was towing touched an overhead power line. The company has been summonsed to appear at King’s Lynn magistrates court on Friday 23 November.”

It has been reported by ITV that the company has issued a statement through its solicitors stating: 

“Belmont Nursery has worked closely with police, the HSE and other agencies investigating the incident at the nursery. As formal legal proceedings are now under way it would be inappropriate for us to comment on any aspect of the case at this time.

Everyone at Belmont Nursery remains profoundly saddened by the death of Mr Pieton, and his family have been, and are constantly, in our thoughts”

Comment

An organisation is guilty of an offence under the Act if the way in which its activities are managed or organised causes a person’s death and involves a gross breach of a relevant duty of care. 

The way in which its activities are managed or organised by its senior management must be a substantial element in the breach and the conduct alleged must be shown to be far below what can reasonably be expected of the organisation in the circumstances.

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