Last week we reported that a third company, Lion Steel Limited, had been convicted of corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. Sentencing was passed on 20 July 2012 with a fine of £480,000 making it the largest fine to date, albeit still below the £500,000 starting point stipulated in guidance.

This case was of particular interest as it is generally felt that the legislation and relative guidance has not yet been fully tested on a larger scale company such as Lion Steel. By way of analysis Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings were the first company to be convicted under the legislation. Due to the financial difficulties Cotswold were facing, and with an annual turnover of only £300,000, they were fined £385,000 payable over ten years. They went into liquidation shortly after. The conviction of JMW Farms Limited (Co. Armagh) did not provide any clarity on the stance the courts will adopt as they had a significantly higher annual turnover of over £1million, were in good health but yet only attracted a fine of £187,500 plus £13,000 in costs. There was a reduction of 25% to reflect the fact that they pled guilty but it is not entirely clear why the starting point was so far below the guidance in the first place.

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The original publication date for this article was 20/07/2012.