The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced that Lion Steel Equipment Ltd will be charged with corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act (CMHA) 2007. This will be the second such case brought under the CMHA.
The charge follows the death of an employee who fell through a roof at the company’s Hyde headquarters in 2008. The company will also be charged under sections 2 and 33 of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HWSA) 1974 for failing to ensure the safety at work of its employees.
Additionally, the CPS has decided that three of the company’s directors should also be charged with gross negligence manslaughter under the CMHA. Furthermore, the three directors will also be charged under section 37 HWSA 1974 for failing to ensure the safety at work of their employees.
This case is likely to be followed very closely as it may provide a better indication of the courts’ approach to the CMHA and the level of fines if a conviction is made. The first case brought under the CMHA, against Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings, failed to provide the expected insight due to the company’s “parlous financial state” and resulting fine of £385,000. The Sentencing Guidelines on Corporate Manslaughter (issued in February 2010) suggest that fines would be expected to start from £500,000 and rise into the millions.
The first hearing will take place at Tameside Magistrates’ Court on 02 August 2011.