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Corporate manslaughter charge for death of crane driver

15/09/2014

The CPS has today [Monday 15 September] announced that Baldwins Crane Hire Limited has been charged with corporate manslaughter following the death of Lindsay Easton.

On 15 August 2011, Mr Easton was driving a heavy crane down a steep road away from a Wind Farm at Scout Moor, Lancashire. During this journey, it is alleged that the brakes failed. The crane crashed into an earth bank and fell from the road. The company had been carrying out work on wind turbines in the area.

Jane Wragg, specialist prosecutor in the Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division of the CPS, said: "I have carefully reviewed the evidence gathered by Lancashire Police and the Health and Safety Executive during their investigation into the tragic death of Lindsay Easton. I have concluded that Baldwins Crane Hire Limited should be charged with an offence of corporate manslaughter.

"I have also concluded that there is sufficient evidence to charge the company Baldwins Crane Hire Limited with offences under Section 2 and Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

"The first hearing will take place at Burnley Magistrates' Court on a date to be determined.

"May I remind all concerned that criminal proceedings against Baldwins Crane Hire Ltd. have now commenced and the company has the right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.

"These decisions were taken in accordance with the Code of Crown Prosecutors. We have decided there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest."

Details of the charges:

  1. Baldwins Crane Hire Limited on the 15th  day of August 2011  being an organisation, namely a corporation, because of the way in which the organisation's activities were managed or organised, caused the death of a person, namely Lindsay Easton, contrary to section 1 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007
  2. Baldwins Crane Hire Limited, between the 1st day of January 2010 and the 16th day of August 2011, being an employer within the meaning of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, failed to discharge the duty imposed on it under Section 2 of the Act by failing to ensure so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of its employees including Lindsay Easton. Contrary to section 33(1)(a) of that Act.
  3. Baldwins Crane Hire Limited, between the 1st day of January 2010 and the 16th day of August 2011, being an employer within the meaning of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, failed to discharge the duty imposed on it under Section 3 of the Act, by failing to conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that persons not in its employment who may be affected thereby were not thereby exposed to risks to their health and safety. Contrary to section 33(1)(a) of that Act.

Ends

Notes to Editors

  1. For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
  2. The CPS consists of 13 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). In addition, there are three national casework divisions: Specialist Fraud (formerly Central Fraud and Welfare, Rural & Health Divisions), Special Crime & Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime. CPS Direct is a 'virtual' 14th Area which provides charging decisions to all police forces and other investigators across England and Wales - it operates twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
  3. At 31 March 2014 we employed a workforce of approximately 6237 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2226 prosecutors and 3629 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website:  www.cps.gov.uk.
  4. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.