Cotswold Geotechnic: the case for the prosecution

8 Jun

This morning I attended a health and safety legal update briefing courtesy of Mark Tyler of solicitors Shook, Hardy + Bacon. The keynote was delivered by barrister Adrian Darbishire who acted for the CPS in the prosecution of Cotswold Geotechnic who also does a lot of defence work.

He queried whether corporate manslaughter was the most over-hyped law in British legal history. Maybe not now with the new Bribery Act.

The CPS did not, in his view, have any real choice concerning the first prosecution. They had to go with the cards they were dealt. Since the law was introduced there have been some 500 workplace deaths but just the one prosecution.  There is a sense of a lack of appetite by the police who with the CPS are in the lead.

Is the new law working? Too early to say. One important test of whether the law is working, in Adrian Darbishire’s opinion, will be whether the prosecution will be able to prove senior management gross breach in the case of a large company.

Interestingly Cotswold’s defence costs of £1 million were met by their insurers.

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