Lion Steel fined £480,000 for Corporate Manslaughter offence
Published: 20 Jul 2012
Lion Steel Equipment Ltd, which is only the third company in the UK to be convicted under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 since it's entry into force in 2008, has been fined £480,000 at Manchester Crown Court for one offence of Corporate Manslaughter following the death of an employee caused by senior management failure.
The Cheshire-based storage manufacturer had pleaded guilty to the offence in relation to the death of Steven Berry, 45, who died after falling through a fragile roof panel at a site in Hyde, Cheshire in May 2008.
The fine is payable in four instalments up until 30th September 2015. Lion Steel was also ordered to pay costs of £84,000 and a victim surcharge of £15.
Three of the firm's directors had originally faced charges of gross negligence manslaughter and failing to ensure the health and safety of their employees under section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc 1974 when the trial began on 12 June. However, at the close of the prosecution's case on 3 July, the judge ruled that the gross negligence manslaughter charges should not proceed as there was no case to answer, and formal not guilty verdicts were entered on these charges.
Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, companies and organisations can be found guilty of corporate manslaughter if the way in which their activities are managed or organised causes a death, and this amounts to a gross breach of a duty of care owed to the victim.
Companies convicted of corporate manslaughter are liable to unlimited fines, and the Sentencing Guidelines Council has stated a fine should "seldom be less than £500,000 and may be measured in millions".