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Worker Trench Death Case Adjourned

Man Killed In Work Accident


A landmark case of alleged corporate manslaughter against a company director and his building firm has been adjourned at Bristol Crown Court.

Peter Eaton, along with his Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings firm, are accused of unlawfully killing a geologist by gross negligence under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007.

Last September a trench collapsed on Alexander Wright, 27, as he gathered soil samples in Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Eaton and his firm are the first to come to court under the new legislation, which aims to simplify the prosecution of companies and their bosses in relation to deaths at work.

Eaton, 60, of The Common, Brimpsfield, Stroud, Gloucestershire was set to enter pleas but the case was adjourned following an application by his counsel Keith Morton.

Judge Tom Crowther set a trial date for February 23 next year, with a plea hearing for a date to be fixed in the second half of October.

Eaton, as a person, also faces a second, similar charge of killing by gross negligence over Mr Wright's death.

The director and his company also face one health and safety charge each relating to the same incident.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “The legal profession watches with interest the proceedings following this awful fatal work accident given it is the first of its type under the new legislation.

“It is hoped that the new legislation will improve health and safety via an increased risk of facing legal penalties if employers fail to protect workers from injury or death following an accident at work.

“All too often, I have to help workers pursue their claim for compensation following injuries sustained in a work accident, the circumstances of which could and should have been avoided.”