ACCIDENTAL DEATH

The Health and Safety Executive had been correct in deciding not to prosecute under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. On the facts there was no reasonable prospect of a successful prosecution against the proposed defendants for the death of a child caused by a vandalised door falling on him on a housing estate.

[2003] EWHC 2934 (Admin)

A term of imprisonment was inevitable where a person had been accidentally killed with ammunition transferred by the appellant to a customer, even though the ammunition was thought to be inert, as no reasonable steps were taken to de-activate the cartridges. However, in the absence of any criminal intent, the sentence of seven months’ imprisonment was manifestly excessive and would be reduced to a term of two months’ imprisonment.

Appeal against a fine of #75,000 for an offence of failure to ensure the safety of an employee at work contrary to s.2 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.The Court of Appeal held that since the accident had occurred as a result of the appellant’s oversight and was not a deliberate failure to ensure adequate safety precautions, the sentence would be quashed and substituted with a more appropriate fine of #40,000.