New Corporate Manslaughter prosecutions

February 2013 has seen two new Corporate Manslaughter prosecutions hit the headlines bringing the total number of prosecutions since the legislation was introduced on the 6th April 2008 to six.

MNS Mining Ltd is being prosecuted under the Act following the death of four miners in September 2011. The company is facing four charges of Corporate Manslaughter and the mine manager is himself facing four charges of gross-negligence manslaughter.

The Corporate Manslaughter Act at a glance:

  • The legislation was introduced on the 6th April 2008

  • There have been 6 prosecutions to date

  • Individual directors can, despite the new Act, still be personally charged with gross-negligence manslaughter

A water sports club in Middlesex is the sixth company to face prosecution following the death of a young girl in 2010. The company has also been charged under Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act and one of the directors has been personally charged under Section 37 of the HSWA.

Given there have only been six prosecutions to date under the Corporate Manslaughter Act, despite the two most recent prosecutions, one could argue that prosecutions under this Act are still rare. That said, given the potential penalties under the Corporate Manslaughter Act - as well as under the Health and Safety at Work Act - and the fact that individual directors can, despite the new Act, still be personally charged with gross-negligence manslaughter, the need to take health and safety issues very seriously indeed has never been clearer.

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