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DELAY IN BRINGING PROSECUTION ABUSED PROCESS

Judge halts HSE case after two year delay in starting proceedings 

It has been reported (17th Jan) by the Blackpool Gazette that a judge sitting at Blackpool Magistrates Court has held that delay by HSE in bringing proceedings against Blackpool NHS Foundation Trust amounted to an abuse of process.

The prosecution follows an accident at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in which a hospital laundryman fractured his arm whilst removing an obstruction from a conveyor belt.

The accident took place in December 2011 and the HSE summons was received by the hospital in September 2013. The Trust applied for proceedings to be halted and has now been successful in a hearing before District Judge Edward Barr who refused to order £10,000 costs against the HSE.

Giving his decision, the judge said:

“I feel there has been an abuse of process. There has been a significant delay in this matter putting it lightly. There is also evidence Mr Earnshaw may have been the architect of his own misfortune.”

The abuse of process hearing was told that had a trial gone ahead the Trust would have argued the laundryman had breached his work guidelines by going underneath the machine to try and dislodge an article with a knife. 

HSE maintained the machine was not properly guarded and that the delay in starting proceedings was caused after the investigation was passed from one inspector to another. However, the judge added the delay was too long and that a fair trial of the Trust could not take place.

 

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