01 February 2011
First ever corporate manslaughter case begins
The first trial to take place in the UK under the remit of the new Corporate Manslaughter Act began in Winchester recently (January 27th 2011).
Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings - a firm based in the county of Gloucestershire - is involved in a case at Winchester Crown Court following the death of one of its workers in 2008.
Alexander Wright, a junior geologist, was fatally crushed while carrying out a procedure in his job almost three years ago and, as a result, the company is facing charges of corporate manslaughter because of this incident, which took place as the employee collected soil samples in a pit.
The Corporate Manslaughter Act - which means that organisations can be charged on the basis of their management failures should they lead to a "gross breach of duty of care" - came into effect in UK law in April 2008, but this represents the first time a case has been based around it.
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By Daniel Stevens