Last week we reported that a third company, Lion Steel Limited,
had been convicted of corporate manslaughter under the Corporate
Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. Sentencing was passed
on 20 July 2012 with a fine of £480,000 making it the largest
fine to date, albeit still below the £500,000 starting point
stipulated in guidance.
This case was of particular interest as it is generally felt
that the legislation and relative guidance has not yet been fully
tested on a larger scale company such as Lion Steel. By way of
analysis Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings were the first company to
be convicted under the legislation. Due to the financial
difficulties Cotswold were facing, and with an annual turnover of
only £300,000, they were fined £385,000 payable over
ten years. They went into liquidation shortly after. The conviction
of JMW Farms Limited (Co. Armagh) did not provide any clarity on
the stance the courts will adopt as they had a significantly higher
annual turnover of over £1million, were in good health but
yet only attracted a fine of £187,500 plus £13,000 in
costs. There was a reduction of 25% to reflect the fact that they
pled guilty but it is not entirely clear why the starting point was
so far below the guidance in the first place.
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The ramifications for those found to be in civil contempt (as presided over by the High Court), and, in particular, the court’s power to enforce such a finding against a contemnor who resides overseas, are more far reaching than many (civil) lawyers realise.
The Bribery Act has made the news again following the conviction of a would be taxi driver. Earlier this week, at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester, Mr Mawia Mushtaq became the second person convicted of an offence under the Bribery Act by attempting to bribe a Licensing Officer.
In the previous edition of Corporate Focus we reported that the Bribery Act 2010 (the Bribery Act) came into force on 1 July 2011 and we considered procedures that commercial organisations could put into place in order to prevent bribery.
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