News & Views

First Corporate Manslaughter Case in England and Wales under new Sentencing Guidelines

BY Douglas Cameron
Health & Safety
BG Orange

Monavon Construction Ltd undertook construction works to a site on Hampstead Road London. Works, including perimeter edge protection around a light well, were fitted without secured metal railings...

On the 19th October 2013, two employees were captured on CCTV having an altercation, when one of the men pushed the other into the edge protection. This collapsed and both men fell a distance of 3.7 metres and tragically died at the scene.

The company pleaded guilty to the two counts of Corporate Manslaughter and a breach of section 3(1) Health Safety at Work Etc Act 1974.

The Crown Prosecution Services as part of the prosecution preparation, requested access to the accounts of all linked companies to allow for an accurate assessment to be made of the company's financial status and to identify whether any assets of the company had been manipulated or transferred to other linked companies.

Monavon Construction Ltd. accepted that the risk of injury from falling into an improperly guarded / covered light well was highly foreseeable, that there were straightforward steps which should have been taken, and that the failure to take those steps resulted in the death of two individuals. 

This was a considered a category ‘A’ offence (the most serious type). The company’s turnover was less than £2 million, had no previous prosecution, a good safety record and had taken remedial steps taken after the accident.

The company was fined a total of £550,000 plus costs of £23,000; the fines. to be paid within two years.

The Judge imposed a publicity order, naming and shaming the Company, which is a feature that will become more common in such cases. 

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