Gross Negligence Manslaughter
One of the most complicated types of case to defend at any stage of the process is that of manslaughter by gross negligence. It most often involves a suspect or defendant who is inexperienced in criminal procedures, normally having worked at director level in their chosen line of work. Such cases are sometimes referred to as corporate manslaughter and also involve offences against the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
We have acted in the following cases in recent years:-
- We acted for a young man working for a charity which took physically and mentally disabled children abroad for a holiday and to provide their families with some respite. During once such trip and severely disabled boy was tragically run over by a reversing coach and killed. Our client was interviewed at length by police investigating this as gross negligence manslaughter. Our client was co-operative and provided a detailed account following which he was not charged with any offence.
- We represented the managing director of a company which installed a buffet unit at a hotel in Cardiff. Unfortunately there were faults in the design and installation and subsequent maintenance of the humidifier within the unit and two people tragically died from legionnaires disease. Seven others were rendered seriously ill but thankfully survived the same disease. Our client was the subject of a very lengthy investigation and was charged with two manslaughter counts. At trial it became apparent to the Crown that their case would not lead to a conviction and the manslaughter charges were dropped in favour of minor health and safety breaches.
- Although we did not act at trial we represented the director of a company plant hire company at his appeal against conviction and sentence for four counts of gross negligence manslaughter. Our client had been convicted of providing unsafe plant on the railway which it was said had led to the death of 4 railway workers who were struck at Tebay when a trailer heavily laden with scrap rail which had runaway from further up the track. The appeal was successful only in so far as sentence was concerned. We are now investigating the possibility of making an application to the CCRC.