The Crown Prosecution Service have announced that they have charged a third company with Corporate Manslaughter under legislation introduced just over four and half years ago.

Rene Barclay, Principal Crown Advocate in the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism division of the Crown Prosecution Service, said:

“I have carefully considered the evidence and have concluded that it is sufficient to charge PS & JE Ward Ltd, based at King’s Lynn, with corporate manslaughter and with failing to discharge a duty imposed by section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

“The charges against the company, which runs Belmont Nursery in Terrington St Clement, relate to the tragic death of Grzegorz Krystian Pieton on 15 July 2010 from an electric shock caused when the metal hydraulic lift trailer he was towing touched an overhead power line.

“The decision was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

“The company has been summonsed to appear at King’s Lynn magistrates court on Friday 23 November.”

This is only the third prosecution in England and Wales with a fourth company convicted of the offence in Northern Ireland.  In Scotland we still await the first prosecution for the offence which is known in the Scottish jurisdiction as Corporate Homicide.

An organisation will be guilty of the offence of Corporate manslaughter or Corporate Homicide if a fatality is caused by a gross breach of a relevant duty of care and where the way that the organisation’s activities were organised or managed by it’s senior managers was a substantial element of the breach.  Conviction can result in an unlimited fine and to date the highest fine for the offence is £480,000.