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CPS DISCONTINUE CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER CASE

Oil giant and contractor plead guilty to health and safety offences

The Crown Prosection Service (CPS) has reported (28/06/2013) that a charge of corporate manslaughter under the common law faced by Austin & McClean has been discontinued explaining that:

“Having reviewed new witness statements provided in the case, the CPS concluded there is no longer sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction of Austin & McClean for corporate manslaughter. We consulted Mr Romero’s family on this decision and have now offered no evidence in relation to this charge.”

Gaon Hart, Senior Crown Advocate for the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said:

“Juan Quintanilla Romero died tragically and unnecessarily on 30 August 2008 when a fuel pipe collapsed on him as he worked on a fuel tanker docked at Fawley Refinery, Southampton.  Today Esso Petroleum Company Limited pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court to one count relating to the maintenance of the crane, under s.33 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act.

This offence properly reflects the criminality involved and provides the court with suitable sentencing powers. The prosecution has therefore accepted this plea. One other health and safety offence in relation to Esso Petroleum Company Limited will lie on file, while the prosecution will offer no evidence with regard to three others.

Austin & Mclean Limited, the company responsible for the maintenance of the steel cranes, known as jibs, that carried the fuel pipes, pleaded guilty to a health and safety offence in relation to Mr Romero’s death on 6 June 2013 at Winchester Crown Court. This offence, under section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act, was for failing to ensure that non-employees such as Mr Romero, who was a seaman working on board a docked ship, were not exposed to risk at the marine terminal. Another charge of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees will lie on file.

I offer my sincerest condolences to the family of Mr Romero. Both companies will be sentenced later this year.”

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