Cotswold Geotechnical fined £385,000 in first corporate manslaughter conviction

Thu 17 Feb, 2011

The Telegraph | Friday 17 February 2011

Cotswold Geotechnical has been fined £385,000 after being found guilty in the first ever corporate manslaughter prosecution.

Geologist Alexander Wright from Cheltenham died in September 2008 when a 12.6ft (3.8 metres) deep unsupported trial pit that he was working in alone caved in at a development site in Brimscombe Lane, near Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Cotswold Geotechnical was on Tuesday found guilty at Winchester Crown Court of corporate manslaughter relating to Mr Wright's death.

The judge, Mr Justice Field, said the gross breach of the company's duty to Mr Wright was a "grave offence".

He said the company, which was described in court as in a parlous financial state, could pay the money back over 10 years at a rate of £38,500 per annum.

He explained the fine marked the gravity of the offence and the deterrent effect it would have on companies to strongly adhere to health and safety guidance.