Richard Matthews QC and Allan Compton appeared for the prosecution in relation to three defendants at Newcastle Crown Court in a four week trial arising from a fatality during dismantling works at the Swan Hunter Shipyard on the River Tyne.
The first defendant, Allan Turnbull, was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter and sentenced to three years imprisonment. The second defendant, North Eastern Maritime Offshore Cluster Ltd (NEMOC) was convicted of breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act, together with the third defendant, Christopher Taylor, a director of the company, who was convicted of consenting to and conniving with those breaches. Taylor was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 costs. The company NEMOC is now in creditor’s voluntary liquidation.
The charges arose from the collapse of the steel structure of a huge building, within which ships had previously been constructed, during which an employee of Turnbull’s was fatally injured by falling steelwork. Turnbull had been contracted to dismantle a number of buildings at the shipyard, by NEMOC so as to enable them to be shipped to India and re-built. The trial followed a complex four and a half year joint investigation by the Police and the Health & Safety Executive. Mr Matthews and Mr Compton were instructed by the Special Casework Unit of the Crown Prosecution Service in York.
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