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Guilty or Not Guilty - what's your verdict?

Herefordshire employers from the construction industry are being invited to take part in a mock trial next month at Hereford Crown Court.  The trial is to demonstrate what could happen if health and safety is compromised within their organisation, making them guilty of an offence which could result in them being prosecuted.

Mike Jones, acting principal lawyer with Herefordshire Council will be prosecuting and Neil Coulson of Coulson Reed Lewis will be  defending.  The purpose is to give professionals in the construction industry valuable training, firstly should they find themselves in Court and secondly to encourage them to avoid going there. 

This event is being organised by Working Well Together Hereford and Worcester, a Health and Safety Executive initiative that promotes best practice in health and safety across the construction industry.  Herefordshire Council is supporting the event which hopes to attract nearly 100 professionals from the industry.

The case being staged is Regina-v-Forrest Construction & Demolition Ltd and Regina-v-Patrick Forrest Managing Director and takes place on Wednesday 3rd October, Hereford Crown Court at 9am.

In this scenario, the Health and Safety Executive has decided to prosecute both a company and its Managing Director over an incident involving a fall into an excavation which results in injury to a member of their staff.

The audience will be asked to decide whether the defendants are guilty or not guilty.  Following the verdict there will be a discussion on the case outcome and the opportunity to ask questions.

Chris Chapman, assistant director for law, governance and resilience, said: “Herefordshire Council is very pleased to support this valuable event.  Live training such as this can be exceptionally effective in highlighting the pitfalls of health and safety.  We are delighted to join in with our region’s construction and safety professionals to focus on these vital issues”.

Harry Rouse, construction manager for Amey*, added: “I’ve actively supported the Working Well Together Hereford and Worcester group for several years.  These events are particularly helpful to small local businesses.  They are usually free and cover many current health and safety issues that affect us all within the industry. 

“The mock trial will be of great interest and reflect what could happen when things go wrong.”