• International Workplace
  • 9 January 2018

Company loses transport licence following corporate manslaughter conviction

The North-West Traffic Commissioner has made an order to revoke the transport licence held by Walmersley-based business SR & RJ Brown, with effect from 31 January 2018.

His decision comes after the company was convicted of corporate manslaughter in 2017, following the death of worker Benjamin Edge, who fell from a structure he was helping to dismantle and died from head injuries.

SR and RJ Brown, of which brothers Christopher and Robert Brown are directors, was fined £300,000 at Manchester Crown Court in March 2017 after admitting corporate manslaughter. Christopher and Robert Brown also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and two counts of health and safety breaches. The Brown brothers were jailed for 20 months, while a count of manslaughter for the pair is to lie on file.

Mark Aspin was jailed for a year after admitting health and safety offences. The company he is director of, MA Excavations Ltd, which contracted out the work, was fined £75,000 after pleading guilty to two health and safety breaches.

Employee Peter Heap was spared jail after he followed orders to bring safety harnesses to the site after his colleague had fallen, to try to conceal what had happened. His four-month sentence for perverting the course of justice, which he had admitted, was suspended for two years.

In his written decision, North West Traffic Commissioner Simon Evans concluded:

“I find it difficult to envisage a much more serious set of circumstances than those that surround the role of this company in the death of Benjamin Edge. That is, two of its directors – the Brown brothers – committing the company far beyond its capability, acting in a reckless fashion, not keeping fellow directors informed and then seeking to cover up in a most despicable fashion what they had done when things went wrong.

“The operator is expected to put in place safe systems of work, whether related to transport or not, to be operated in conjunction with its transport manager, to ensure the safety of staff deployed in the business.

“I am not satisfied, taking into account the history of this operator, that I can be assured that the sort of system and process failures that led to the death of Benjamin Edge will not be repeated in the future in the context of transport, particularly with the Brown brothers playing such a prominent role in it.”