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Manslaughter trial results in fine and suspended sentences

Following the acquittals of Gross Negligence Manslaughter of both directors (TW and MW) at the end of a trial in December 2022, Mr. Justice Butcher sentenced DHW & Sons Limited in respect of Corporate Manslaughter and the directors in respect of their admitted s.37 breaches of duty on Friday 3rd March.

The case arose out of the tragic death of TW’s son, MW’s nephew, when he fell from height, having been knocked out of a man basket attached to a telehandler as a result of a sudden gust of wind catching a roofing sheet which he was handing to his colleagues, in an attempt to assist them with re-roofing a barn.

The company was fined £335,000 to be repaid over 9 years; the directors were sentenced to suspended sentence orders.

Because the verdicts of the jury had been exactly anticipated by an offer from the defendants some 6 months before trial, the prosecution costs ordered to be paid by the defendants were limited to £4,000 for the company and £1,000 for each of the directors, against a total bill of over £80,000.

We are very grateful, as ever, to our solicitors for their instructions in this extremely sensitive case.   Dominic Kay KC was instructed by Simon Belfield of DWF for the company; John Cooper KC led Harry Vann for TW, instructed by Vikki Woodfine and Amanda Lea of DWF; and Lucy Wright was Junior Counsel for MW, instructed by Caroline Depledge of DWF.

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