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Corporate manslaughter sentencing finalised

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Following review by the Sentencing Guidelines Council (SGC), the penalties for corporate manslaughter prosecutions have been finalised, meaning companies could be fined millions of pounds for staff deaths.

Coming into effect from February 15th, the guidelines will instruct the courts on how to deal with companies and organisations that cause death through gross breaches of care or health and safety.

Fines for guilty companies and organisations will seldom be below £500,000 and could run into the millions, according to the SGC. For health and safety offences that cause death, fines will begin at £100,000 and rise steeply.

Penalties will be decided upon the relevance of a number of factors, including a company’s turnover, the severity of an offence, the number of deaths, failure to heed warnings and deliberate failure to obtain or comply with relevant licenses.

Fines must be serviced within 28 days of sentencing and publicity orders will likely be placed on negligent companies, forcing them to reveal the extent of their fatal mishaps through the press or company websites.

“Fines cannot and do not attempt to value a human life – compensation will be assessed separately in these cases. These are serious offences and the fines must be punitive and substantial and have an impact on the company or organisation,” said Council member and Vice President of the Court of Appeal’s Criminal Division, Lord Justice Hughes.

Cotswold Geotechnical Limited will experience the first practical application of the SGC’s fines as they are prosecuted over the death of a worker in the coming weeks.

Written by Andrew Hodges

February 14, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , , ,

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