Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Legislation’s first fine is issued

May 2011

The first sentencing under the UK’s Corporate Manslaughter Act has been imposed in the form of a £385,000 ($630,000, €438,000) fine on an engineering company for an employee’s death in 2008, the year the legislation was passed.

Cotswold Geotechnical was convicted of the manslaughter of junior geologist Alexander Wright in conditions that a judge called ‘extremely irresponsible and dangerous’, constituting a ‘grave offence’.

The company has ten years to pay. The judge said: ‘It may well be that the fine in the terms of its payment will put this company into liquidation. If that is the case it’s unfortunate, but unavoidable.’

The sentencing guidelines, announced last year, recommend £500,000 fines.

Wright suffocated under tonnes of mud from the collapsed sides of a trench excavated by Cotswold. The company denied corporate manslaughter but was found to be in ‘serious breach’ of health and safety rules.

For health reasons, the company director, Peter Eaton, could not stand trial for manslaughter.

Cotsworld Geotechnical | UK & NI Ireland | Health and safety


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