Second Corporate Manslaughter Prosecution Continues
Date Published: 20th June 2012
The prosecution of Lion Steel Equipment Ltd under the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007 is set to be heard at Manchester Crown Court this month. The prosecution arises from the death of an employee who fell from the roof of the company's headquarters in 2008. In addition, three directors of the firm also face individual charges of Gross Negligemce Manslaughter.
As with the first ever prosecution under this legislation (Cotswold Geotechniccal Holdings), this case is taking a very long time to resolve. The statutory offence of corporate manslaughter introduced by the Act was mainly intended to provide a means to hold large companies to account where it has not been possible to idenitfy the individuals responsible within the organsiation. Critics of the 2007 Act have questioned it's usefulness as the only two prosecutions to date are against relatively small companies where the "controlling mind" can readily be established. This "controlling mind" test has existed in common law before the 2007 Act, but very few prosecutions resulted in very large companies, which Parliament felt was unsatisfactory.