CPS statement on charges over the Bosley Mill explosion

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Jenny Hopkins, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: “Following explosions at a wood flour mill in Bosley on Friday 17 July 2015 which led to the death of four people and injuries to a number of others, the Crown Prosecution Service has authorised charges.

“Cheshire Police has been authorised by the CPS to charge Wood Treatment Limited with corporate manslaughter, and George Boden, one of its directors, with gross negligence manslaughter.

“The company, Mr Boden, and two others who were managers for the company, have also been charged with health and safety offences.

“These decisions were made following a careful review of all of the evidence presented to us by Cheshire Police as a result of their lengthy and complex joint investigation with the Health and Safety Executive.

“Criminal proceedings against these defendants are now active and they have a 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.”

Notes to editors

  • Wood Treatment Ltd is charged with four offences of corporate manslaughter contrary to section 1 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, relating to the deaths of Dorothy Bailey, Derek Barks, Derek Moore and Jason Shingler, and one offence of failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its employees in breach of section 2(1) the Health and Safety Act at Work Act 1974
  • George Boden is charged with four offences of manslaughter by gross negligence, relating to the deaths of Dorothy Bailey, Derek Barks, Derek Moore and Jason Shingler, and one offence in breach of sections 2(1) and 37(1) of the Health and Safety Act at Work Act 1974
  • Philip Smith is charged with committing an offence in breach of sections 2(1) and 37(1) of the Health and Safety Act at Work Act 1974
  • Peter Shingler is charged with committing an offence in breach of sections 2(1) and 37(1) of the Health and Safety Act at Work Act 1974
  • The defendants are due to appear at Stockport Magistrates’ Court on 2 December 2019.

About the CPS and its function

Any decision by the CPS does not imply any finding concerning guilt or criminal conduct; the CPS makes decisions only according to the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and it is applied in all decisions on whether or not to prosecute.

It is not the function of the CPS to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments about whether it is appropriate to present charges for the criminal court to consider.

The CPS assessment of any case is not in any sense a finding of, or implication of, any guilt or criminal conduct. It is not a finding of fact, which can only be made by a court, but rather an assessment of what it might be possible to prove to a court, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

This assessment is based on the evidence available arising out of the police investigation and not on the evidence that is likely to be gathered by the defence, and likely to be used to test the prosecution evidence. The CPS charging decision is therefore necessarily an assessment on the basis of the evidence that is available to the CPS at the time the decision is made.

CPS prosecutors must also keep every case under review, so that they take account of any change in circumstances that occurs as the case develops, including what becomes known of the defence case. If appropriate, the CPS may change the charges or stop a case.

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