In my last Bulletin I commented on a recent court decision that highlighted the importance of providing the court with a full picture of a company’s finances should it find itself in the unfortunate position of facing a sentence for a health and safety offence. I read with interest a report on the BBC website this week regarding a guilty plea entered by Nordex UK in respect of the death of a young man working on a wind turbine.
The solicitor representing the accused explained to the Sheriff hearing the case that Nordex UK had been “practically insolvent” for the last two years and had posted a loss of more than £1.3M for the year ending 2011.
The Sheriff was clearly not satisfied that this presented her with the full picture and she has deferred sentence until mid-June along with a request that she be fully advised of the financial situation of the accused’s parent company Nordex SE.
When acting for a large international organisation it can be difficult to know where to draw the line in terms of presenting financial information and presenting only the UK information is a reasonable starting point. This case demonstrates the importance of being prepared to present information on the wider organisation should the court ask for it.