As discussed on our open day the sentencing guidelines have changed as of the 1st of February 2016.
After consultation over the Christmas period 14 – 15 a definitive guide has been published, this is now the basis for the courts to follow and sets quite a clear picture as to where an offender sits and how they can be moved up a category, increasing and decreasing fine or even imprisonment.
The setup is very similar for corporate and individual offences as well as corporate manslaughter charges:
The court is to firstly identify the level of culpability (how big a part did the failings of the company or individual play)
The court then identifies (the major change) the Harm Risked, not the outcome but the potential outcome (for example working up a 2 meter high step ladder, if someone was to fall off they may suffer a broken ankle or there is a possibility of death) this needs to be identified and prevented!
Fines have increased considerably and will grow as the courts feel more comfortable serving them for example there has been recent prosecution brought to a company for a gas leak which did not injure anyone but did have the potential to do so, the court fined this company a reduced fee for a guilty plea of £333000 and costs of £110000, this shows the seriousness of preventing risk at the very early stages.
Like I said its firm but fair, hitting those who do not comply with H&S law placing others at risk hardest.