The HSE has announced that it will administer a Crown censure to the MoD following the deaths of three soldiers over failures during an SAS training exercise.
As the Crown cannot be prosecuted for breaches of the law, including failure to comply with improvement and prohibition notices (section 48(1) HSWA 1974), a Crown censure can be administered. This is the maximum sanction the HSE can bring against the Crown. Whilst no fine is ordered, the censure formally records the decision that, but for Crown immunity, the evidence of a Crown body’s failure to comply with health and safety law would have been sufficient to provide a realistic prospect of securing a conviction.
Lance/Cpl Edward Maher, Lance/Cpl Craig Roberts and Cpl James Dunsby died during a 16-mile march through the Brecon Beacons on one of the hottest days of 2013. An inquest found that they died after suffering the effects of hyperthermia.
The HSE investigation found that the MoD failed to plan, assess and manage the risks associated with the training exercise.
The MoD accepted the censure. An ongoing investigation into the role of individuals is being carried out by the Royal Military Police.