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Corporate manslaughter trial adjourned

Site of the accident where Alex Wright died

Geoscientist Online 2 March 2010

The first case of corporate manslaughter to be brought against a British company under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 has been adjourned, writes Adler deWind.

The prosecution, against Cotswolds-based company Geotechnical Holdings and its director Peter Eaton has been adjourned until October. The defendant, who is a Chartered Geologist, is suffering from ill health.

The company and its director face charges of gross negligence and manslaughter, following the death of a 27 year-old geologist, Alex Wright, in an accident on site, in September 2008. The trial was scheduled to be heard at Bristol Crown Court on 23 February 2010, and had previously been delayed three days. It has now emerged that a pre-trial review will take place in July to assess Mr Eaton’s fitness to stand trial.

Under the Act, Geotechnical Holdings faces an unlimited fine. Eaton, charged under common law with gross negligence, could face life imprisonment.