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October 13, 2015
It’s easier to get prosecuted for Corporate Manslaughter
Businesses can more easily be brought to justice when people die as a result of their actions.
Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act, which came into force on the 6th April 2008, it is now easier to bring a company to justice following fatalities resulting from their undertakings.
When a company is prosecuted it faces the prospect of being found guilty if they are judged to have caused death due to their gross corporate health and safety failings.
Under previous legislation a company could be convicted only if the “directing mind” or senior individual could be identified as responsible for any gross failings leading to a death. Under the new Act, collective actions of a company’s management are examined.
Although individuals cannot be jailed, a company found guilty faces unlimited fines where there is evidence that the business could have foreseen the accident and where breaches of health and safety were widespread within the company or organisation.
If found guilty small firms may be put out of business and this should serve as a wake up call to all companies to take the health, safety and wellbeing of their employees and others seriously.
“Volkswagen should face corporate manslaughter charges for deaths caused by pollution from its cars,” a former government advisor has said.
Stephen Tindale, also a former executive director of Greenpeace UK, said the company had “deliberately fiddled figures which killed people”.