As a result of the likely rise in fines for organisations as well as increased exposure to custodial sentences for individuals, defendants may be more prepared to contest the charges against them and proceed to trial. The trial costs are likely to be more proportionate than was previously the case. It may also be beneficial to the defendant, if convicted, for the judge to hear all of the evidence to enable him to place the offence in its appropriate category.
Additionally, even following a guilty plea, we may see lengthier contested sentencing hearings, with the need for expert evidence including forensic accountants dealing with the finances and accounts of an individual / organisation.
Are you ready?
We have seen an increase in prosecutions for health and safety offences, with the 16th organisation convicted of corporate manslaughter on 1 December 2015.
To reduce the risk of accidents, lost time and lost production as well as the risk of prosecution and the prospect of larger fines, the following wider risk management issues should be revisited:
- Risk assessments, method statements and safe systems of work;
- Focus on corporate governance and incident management procedures; and
- Ensure individuals are appropriately trained and understand their duties.
If you are not already doing so, health and safety should be pushed to the top of your agenda.
How can we help?
DAC Beachcroft's specialist regulatory lawyers are on hand to assist you with any queries you may have in relation any health and safety, food hygiene or corporate manslaughter offences.
For more information please contact Sally Roff, Partner and Head of National SHE Team on 07921 890 829 or firstname.lastname@example.org