Corporate manslaughter charges over Legionnaires’ disease outbreak


Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
31st May 2016

Having in April 2016 been critical of both the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for taking too long to reach a decision, North Staffordshire coroner Ian Smith said this month, "While proceedings have not yet been formally issued they are about to be. These proceedings are against JTF for corporate manslaughter and some regulatory offences."

The prosecutions will relate to the deaths of Mr Richard Griffin, aged 56 and Mr William Hammersley, aged 79, however, the CPS says there is not enough evidence to bring the same charge in the case of the third fatality, Mr Harry Cadman, aged 71. 

The outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease was associated with a “filthy hot tub” operated in the store during 2012, from which a Health Protection Agency (now Health Protection England) investigation found the same strain of Legionella as in those who were taken ill. 

With the newly introduced sentencing guidelines cover corporate manslaughter as well as health and safety and food safety-related offences. This case will be one of the first to see what the implications of the changes will be.