On 23 April 2009 the CPS brought charges against a Gloucestershire-based company in the first prosecution for corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
The prosecution is being pursued in relation to the death of an employee of the company in September 2008. At the same time it was also announced that a director of the company has been charged with gross negligence manslaughter. If found guilty of corporate manslaughter the company could be fined as much as 10 per cent of its gross annual turnover. More worryingly the director could, if found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter, face a lengthy prison sentence. Both the company and the director also face health and safety charges under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 which also carry custodial penalties.
The prosecution sends out a strong message to organisations who risk charges being brought (and significant penalties being imposed on them) if they fail to provide a safe working environment for their employees.