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  • In a Northern Ireland Crown Court Prosecution on the 15th October 2013 before Weir J, R v J MURRAY AND SON LTD the Defendant company pleaded guilty to the offence of Corporate Manslaughter contrary to sect. 1 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. The deceased employee was working for the company using a machine that had had its protective covering removed, which left it exposed and accessible, leaving it unsafe.

    Employee cutting

    Ensure employee safety

    The employee was fatally injured. His death was attributable to the negligent behaviour of the company at its highest level of direction, namely a breach of duty of care owed by the company to the deceased.

    The assessment of fine was made with reference to sentencing guidelines, including foreseeability of injury. The issue was how short of the applicable standard the defendant fell? Also, how common was this kind of breach in the company? How far up the organisation the breach went? Whether there were aggravating or mitigating circumstances?

    The company was fined £100,000 to be paid in five annual instalments together with costs of £10,450

    Employers often assume that the only consequence to negligence is compensation, which will in any case be paid by their insurance company. This could be an expensive mistake. Fines payable under Prosecution are not payable by the insurer but by the employer personally.