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Office Furniture company charged with corporate manslaughter

Tuesday 5 July 2011

The CPS has announced that Lion Steel Ltd, a steel storage company based in Hyde, Manchester has become the second company to be charged with Corporate Manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (“the Corporate Manslaughter Act”).
Lion Steel Ltd has been charged following the death of Stephen Berry. On 29 May 2008 he fell through a fragile roof panel at an industrial unit in Johnstonbrook Road, Hyde, sustaining injuries from which he later died.
In addition to the corporate manslaughter charge the company is also charged under sections 2 and 33 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (“HSWA”) for failing to ensure the safety at work of its employees.
Three company directors, Kevin Palliser, Richard Vaughan Williams, and Graham Coupe have also been charged under section 37 HSWA in that the HSWA offence committed by the company is said to have been committed with the consent or connivance of, or to have been attributable to neglect on the part of these directors.
The accident occurred a month after the Corporate Manslaughter Act came into force. If convicted of corporate manslaughter the company faces an unlimited fine.
The accident occurred before the Health and Safety (Offences) Act 2008 came into force meaning that the three company directors face a fine if convicted rather than a custodial sentence, which would have been the case had the offence occurred after January 2009 when this act came into force.

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