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    DIRECTOR ACQUITTED AMID CLAIMS OF EXCESS DELAY

    Failed prosecution takes 10 years to reach crown court

    It has been reported by Kent on Line that company director,  Andrew Wright has been found not guilty of failing in his duty after the death of a tyre fitter in 2006.

    Canterbury Crown heard Matthew Hoare (aged 21) died on 27 January 2006  during repairs to a puncture on the nearside front tyre of a loading shovel.

    During the work the tyre exploded releasing compressed air and causing fatal head injuries.

    Director denied charges

    Andrew Wright, aged 58 and  one of four directors of Watling Tyres, denied two charges of failing in his duty as a director under the HSW etc. Act 1974. The jury took three hours to find him NOT guilty. Following the verdict Mr Wright said:

    “I am delighted with the verdict of the jury but saddened by the time it has taken to come to court. My thoughts are with the family and friends of Matthew Hoare.”

    John Cooper QC, acting for Mr Wright, said it was “a complete disgrace” that it had taken 10 years and four months for the case to come to court. He told the jury:

    “You may feel that piles of papers just sitting in an office for months and months is utterly, utterly unacceptable. You must shake your heads and wonder about this astonishing amount of time this has taken and the total lack of justification for it.”

    HSE reject delay criticisms

    The Health and Safety Executive said it took over the investigation from the Police in 2013, immediately launched a probe into “what had gone wrong and why” and brought charges within two years.

    After the hearing, a spokesman for the HSE said:

    “The Health and Safety Executive’s decision to prosecute the Director of Watling Tyres, Andrew Wright, was made after a full and thorough investigation of the facts into the tragic death of Matthew Hoare in 2006. We would like to take this opportunity to offer our sympathies to Matthew’s family for their loss.

    We only bring prosecutions where we consider that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest. We respect the decision of the jury in this case in finding Andrew Wright not guilty. HSE will continue to enforce health and safety legislation and take appropriate action when we believe a breach has occurred.”

    Watling Tyres has pleaded guilty to breaches under HSW etc. Act 1074 Sections 2 and 3 and will be sentenced in June 2016.

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