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HSE v Brookfield Construction

January 11-15, Aylesbury Crown Court (His Honour The Lord Parmoor)

John Cooper represented the company who were Principal Contractor in the construction of a new Town Centre, (The Eden Centre) in High Wycombe.

A specialist steel sub contractor’s employee was injured when a steel beam fell when being lifted and caused serious injuries.

The company were charged with a breach of s3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 in that they failed to consider the risk of an operative falling from a lorry when loading steel beams and failed to have edge protection in place to prevent falls. Five witnesses from the specialist sub contractor were unable to attend at court and hearsay applications relating to their evidence were refused. The company argued that the absence of the witnesses rendered the prosecution unfair in that the company were unable to address issues relating both to the accident and the interrelationship with the subcontractors without their presence. The indictment was stayed as an abuse of process when the court accepted the argument that the company had been impeded from putting important and relevant evidence before the Jury. The company were awarded their costs from central funds.

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