The trial of Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings, which will be the first corporate manslaughter case in the country, has been adjourned until 24 January 2011.
The charges of gross negligence manslaughter against its managing director,Peter Eaton, have been dropped.
However, the charges under the corporate manslaughter act remain.
The final result of the case could have serious implications for all employers.
Sally Roff, partner and head of the Safety, Health & Environment Group at national commercial law firm Beachcroft LLP, commented:
“At a time when there is so much scrutiny over the effective use of public funds, one wonders what is to be gained from pursuing a ‘shell’ company. There is little prospect of a significant fine being levied on any conviction and it is unlikely that there will be any meaningful guidance on how the Corporate Manslaughter Act is to be interpreted, particularly in terms of who, for the purpose of the Act, would fall into the definition of ‘senior management’. Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings was a very small company and it is unlikely that there will be any detailed consideration of who constituted its senior management. The Corporate Manslaughter Act has become tarnished with delay both by the time it took to come to the Statute books and now in its implementation.”