Health and Safety
His work in the regulatory field includes environmental work in defending prosecutions brought by the Environmental Agency for illegal waste management and damage to water courses.
John represents employers, companies, directors, individuals and public bodies on the full spectrum of health and safety matters, including:
- Advice following work-related deaths;
- Response to investigations by HSE, Department of the Environment and Local Authority enforcement for environmental, health & safety issues;
- Statutory powers under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) and pre-charge advice;
- Breach of HSWA and associated health and safety regulations;
- Trading Standards work for individual and corporate clients;
- Oppressive sales methods, misleading pricing and CPUT breaches;
- Corporate Manslaughter and gross negligence manslaughter; company, directors, employer and employee criminal liability.
John is an incisive advocate known for his formidable ability in the courtroom. He is equally at home with detailed cross examination as he is in ensuring the jury fully understands with complete clarity, the issue he is raising. He is a calm, yet persuasive presence who, through years of heavyweight, hard-hitting advocacy is widely respected by opponents, juries and judges alike.
He is the only Silk to be ranked in the practice area Regulatory, Health and Safety, and Licensing in the Northern Circuit in The Legal 500 2020 Guide.
Health & Safety Cases
HSE v Liverpool City Council and Tarmac PLC – Retained by the local authority in a case involving the death of a pedestrian attempting to cross the highway during the time a road was being re surfaced. LCC were the highway authority who had appointed Tarmac as their authorized contractor. Complex issues of causation due to the speed of the car that struck the pedestrian whilst travelling through the road works. CDM issues.
R v Valmet Limited – Case involved multiple deaths of workers whilst repairing machinery. Deaths causes by failures to adequately isolate power sources. Complex case due to the multi-faceted causation of the accident with devastating results and multiple deaths. Case required particularly sensitive handling due the emergence of evidence to the effect that the workmen involved had been specifically warned as to the need for isolation of machinery. These warnings were of particular significance given the fact that other methods of power isolation were proven to be ineffective.
HSE v L and J – Prosecution of two charitable foundations and Church institutions in consequence of their alleged failures in the supervision of a young man killed in a fall from height in an accident at their premises. Complex issues of charitable governance and corporate responsibility. Legal issues including the reverse burden of proof.
HSE v E and F – Defence of two serving police officers in consequence of an incident during a training exercise when a colleague was accidentally shot and killed. Their Chief Constable was also prosecuted. Prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work Act on the basis that the rehearsal of the tactic, the subject of the training exercise, was conducted in an unsafe way due to the use of live ammunition in combination with role players in circumstances where the participants in the exercise would or could lapse into a state whereby the training exercise became, in their minds and perception, a circumstance of reality. The case was one of considerable complexity in consequence of the anonymity of the defendants and witnesses and the need to conduct a significant proportion of the case in the absence of the public and media due to the sensitivity of the issues in the case, the tactics used and the material under review. The analysis of post and pre-accident tactics and behaviour was a cornerstone of the case.
R v Renton – The case involved the death of a young man who had been lifted on the forks of a fork lift truck (a flexi truck).The purpose was to check the stock and positioning of pallets in the warehouse. The correct procedure was said to be to lift down each and every individual pallet rather than lifting up a man to check the individual racks upon which the pallets were placed. The young man so lifted on the forks was crushed against a protruding steel member in a suspended roof. Defendant charged with manslaughter. Evidence showed he was merely following a condoned but bad work practice which was originally said by the Prosecution not to have existed but which disclosure and evidence revealed to be present and adopted by more senior members of the employers’ staff. Case dismissed at preparatory hearing.
TRADING STANDARDS WORK
Dudley Trading Standards v Summit Roof guard – prosecution of alleged offences of fraud committed by a company, its directors and employees arising out of the sale of double glazing and associated roof line products. The allegations concerned pricing and the sales methods used. Case was dismissed upon a submission of no case in consequence of the inability of the prosecution to prove dishonesty notwithstanding the fact that the sales methods may have been aggressive and/or unacceptable.
Dudley Trading Standards v Sarah Beadle – Prosecution of the director of a double glazing and roofline company for alleged breaches of the CPUT Regulations. Having failed against the company the Prosecution mounted a case against certain directors and sales people. Reverse burden of proof case. Case only partially successful and director’s acquitted of significant counts in what was said to be the largest prosecution of its type.