BLM: Corporate manslaughter fine a “warning shot”

Fri 18 Feb, 2011

Post Online

Law firm Berrymans Lace Mawer has claimed that the fine levied in the UK’s first conviction under new corporate manslaughter regulation is a “warning shot” for businesses.

Earlier today, Cotswold Geotechnical was fined £385 000 after being convicted of corporate manslaughter at a trial earlier this week.

The hearing followed the death of Alexander Wright in 2008. The geologist was crushed after the sides of an excavated pit collapsed on him.

Berrymans Lace Mawer LLP partner, Helen Devery said:

"After many years of discussion and debate the new Act has finally come of age with its first conviction. An appeal may be pending but the size of the fine will be a warning shot to all organisations that safety must not be compromised.

"Although the fine is less than the starting point of £500,000 recommended by the Sentencing Guidelines Council it will no doubt have a dramatic impact on a company of this size, reflecting the trend towards harsher penalties."

She added:

"The size of the fine is intended to make a significant impact on any organisation and whilst CGH may have had a modest turnover, larger and more profitable organisations, successfully convicted, can expect fines well above the SGC's £500,000 starting point."