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Roadworks firm charged with corporate manslaughter

For the fourth time in as many months the Crown Prosecution Service has announced it is to charge a company with corporate manslaughter.

Mobile Sweepers (Reading) Ltd is being charged with the offence, along with its sole director, Mervyn Owens, who faces a charge of gross-negligence manslaughter, in relation to the death of employee, Malcolm Hinton on 6 March 2012.

Mr Hinton died from crush injuries after working on a repair underneath a road-sweeping truck at Mobile Sweepers’ premises at Riddings Farm, near Basingstoke. He had inadvertently removed a hydraulic hose, which caused the back of the truck to fall on him.

Colin Gibbs, senior lawyer in Special Crime for the CPS, said: “I have carefully reviewed all the evidence gathered by Hampshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive during their investigation into the tragic death of Malcolm Hinton [and] have concluded there is sufficient evidence to charge Mobile Sweepers (Reading) Limited with corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

“I have also decided there is sufficient evidence to charge the company’s sole director Mervyn Owens with gross-negligence manslaughter.

“In addition, I have authorised charges against both Mobile Sweepers (Reading) Limited and Mr Owens with an offence under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work, etc. Act 1974 and also with an offence under regulation 5(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

The first hearing will take place at Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court on 21 March.

In November, the CPS announced a charge of corporate manslaughter against Norfolk garden nursery Belmont, run by PS and JE Ward Ltd, in relation to the death of an employee in July 2010.

In January, the company that owns Welsh colliery Gleision, where four miners died in a flooding incident in September 2011, was charged on four counts of corporate manslaughter.

Last month, Prince’s Sporting Club, of Middlesex, was charged under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 following the death of an 11-year-old girl who fell from a banana-boat ride.

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