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Professional expertise before joining the firm: I worked as a criminal defence solicitor at another local firm for 4 years
When you joined the firm: August 2005
Department: Regulatory Crime, principally as a prosecutor for the Health and Safety Executive
Peter is one of the country’s most experienced regulatory prosecutors having dealt with over 200 cases for the HSE. He regularly represents the HSE at Inquests and Employment Tribunals and provides clear and robust advice at all stages of an investigation. He has particular expertise in prosecuting companies that have gone into liquidation or administration and has successfully applied to the High Court Chancery Division for companies to be restored to the Register in the event that they have been dissolved or for orders preventing them from being dissolved to allow a prosecution to conclude. Peter also has vast experience dealing with asbestos and gas related cases.
Committees or organisations:
•Health and Safety Lawyers Association (HSLA)
Notable and Published Cases:
HSE v Jiffy Packaging Ltd (2016) - Defendant convicted after trial at Liverpool Crown Court of breach of Section 2 in respect of failing to guard machinery properly. Defendant represented by specialist health and safety Queen's Counsel.
HSE v Stoneyhurst College (2014) - Prosecution of Defendant for breach of Section 2 in exposing its stonemason employees to the risks associated with inhalation of respirable crystalline silica. Defendant fined £100,000 at Preston Crown Court.
HSE v Polyflor (2013) - Trial at Minshull Street Crown Court of substantial corporate defendant, convicted of section 2 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 breach in relation to exposing employees to risks whilst maintaining machinery.
HSE – v – Thorn Warehousing Ltd & Ken Thelwall (2016) - High Court Chancery Application to have a dissolved company restored to the role to enable criminal proceedings to be instigated against both the company and its Director following the fatality of an employee. Prosecutions successfully brought for Section 3 and s37 HSWA 1974. Mr Thelwall was sent immediately to custody and his appeal was taken by the Lord Chief Justice as one of the first appeals by an individual against a sentence under the new guidelines. The appeal was dismissed and the case is now the leading authority that defence Counsel should not seek to place examples of other cases (and other sentences) before a sentencing judge.
HSE – v - Warwick Estates Property Management - Section 3 prosecution of a property management company following the death of a resident who had fallen down the lift shaft. The company had not been receiving the thorough examination reports and had not taken any action over a number of years to deal with the known fact that residents were having to self rescue from the lift when it became stuck between floors. The residents were unable to raise alarm because the emergency call button was linked to a mobile phone connection and that connection failed to work inside the building.
HSE – Smurfit Kappa UK Ltd - Section 2 prosecution following an accident to an employee who lost most of the fingers to both hands whilst operating an unguarded machine.
HSE – v – Algar (2017) - Various breaches under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. The defendant was not a gas engineer and was not registered with gas safe and yet he held himself out as a gas engineer and after installing a boiler in a residential property he completed the paperwork using someone else’s gas safe registration number. The work was found to be immediately dangerous to life and the defendant was sentenced to 14 months immediate custody.
HSE – v – Morning Foods Ltd (2018) - A prosecution under Regulation 17 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 after an employee had the lower part of his leg amputated when struck by a reversing fork lift truck.
HSE – v – Gaskells (North West) Ltd, Mr Jonathan Gaskell & Paul Jukes (2018) - Sections 37 and 2 prosecutions following the death of an employee in 2018 when he was able to enter a baler machine to clear a blockage whilst it was still powered up. The safety interlock switch had been deliberately defeated. In advance of the sentencing hearing for the first case the HSE were tipped off that the machine was still being run with guards being deliberately defeated and on an unannounced visit Inspectors found the machine being operated in that way. The Company was sentenced to a fine of £700,000 and both the Director Mr Gaskell and a Supervisor Mr Jukes were sent to prison. The appeal against conviction was dismissed.
HSE – v – Pirelli Tyres (2018) - Prosecution for two separate breaches of Regulation 11 PUWER 1998. Two employees has sustained injury from unguarded machinery.
HSE – v – Excavation and Contracting (UK) Ltd and others (2018) - The Company were operating in part as an asbestos removal company but the health and training certificates that had been used to obtain the asbestos licence were found to be forged documents. A Prohibition Notice was served which the Company appealed against. We represented the HSE at the Employment Tribunal, secured the withdrawal of the appeal and recovered HSE’s full costs. A criminal prosecution was subsequently brought against the Company and two individuals and convictions were obtained for various offences under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
HSE – v – Hanson Springs (2016) - Prosecution brought under the Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 after the company failed to take a number of measure to deal with vibration exposure.
HSE – v – HIS Energy Ltd - The defendant company would cold call in order to sell home insulation and would then attend properties to install cavity wall insulation beads. In this particular case the beads blocked up the boiler flue and that evening the home owner died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Within 24 hours of being notified that a criminal case was being instigated the Company placed themselves into administration and attempted to proceed to dissolution. We successfully obtained an order from the High Court Chancery Division to prevent the Company from being dissolved. The Company were convicted of a s3 offence and fined £500,000. Although the Company were in administration we were able to recover HSE’s costs from the Company’s insurers.
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