Forbes Solicitors defend night club and Director following fatal fall from height

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Regulatory Article

10 July, 2020

Craig MacKenzie and Rod Hall recently defended a prosecution brought by a Local Authority following the death of a 25 year old customer who fell from height after leaving a night club. Forbes represented the company and one of the directors.

The company was charged with offences contrary to the Health and Safety at Work act 1974.

  1. Failure of the company to conduct its undertaking in a way to ensure that people not in its employment were not exposed to risks to the health and safety - S33(1)(a) HSWA.
  2. Contravention of regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at work regulations 1999 - failure to make suitable and sufficient risk assessments re safety of persons not in its employment.

The director was charged with an offence under s.37 HSWA - whereby it was alleged that the above offences occurred due to their neglect.

The prosecution alleged that the offences were causative of the young man's death. The way that the case was originally presented placed the starting point in terms of sentence, for the company, at a fine of between £54,000 and £160,000. For the individual, imprisonment of between 6 months and 1 year.

The case was robustly defended by the team who instructed senior counsel from Lincoln House Chambers. Following legal arguments and lengthy negotiations, the prosecution made significant concessions. Only then were guilty pleas entered.

The company was ultimately fined £14,000 and the Director avoided a custodial sentence. He was made subject to a Community Order which requires him to undertake unpaid work.

The Regulatory team at Forbes are extremely experienced in health and safety cases. The outcome in this case highlights the difference that a robust defence can make.

For more information contact Craig MacKenzie in our Regulatory department via email or phone on 01772 220022. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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