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Mark Balysz secures back to back acquittals

On 11th April, Mr Jason King was found not guilty by a jury of failing to take reasonable care for his fellow construction workers. It had been alleged that Mr King, an excavator driver, had used his excavator in a dangerous manner during work relating to the Crossrail project.

As a result a road plate had fallen onto a fellow worker amputating his leg below the knee. His defence was that whilst his actions were arguably dangerous, he was compelled by the contractor company on threat of dismissal and that in all the circumstances he continued to take reasonable care. This trial followed on from the acquittal of the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust on 30th March at York. The trust had been charged with breaching s.3 HSWA after a resident of one of its care homes committed suicide by jumping from a window. The jury by its verdict accepted that such self-inflicted harm was not consequent upon the undertaking of the Trust, notwithstanding that the resident had threatened suicide four days earlier and indicated the window from which she would jump. The trust was convicted of a failure to risk assess the risk of residents jumping or falling from windows, in breach of regulation 3 MHSWR, and was sentenced on the basis that the breach did not give rise to an exposure to risk.

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