Maximum sentences for negligent bosses are set to rise. In fact, the sentence for gross negligent manslaughter is now being raised to eighteen years! This change is coming after new guidelines were put into place by the Sentencing Council. These are set to be enforced from the 1st of November 2018 in both England and Wales.
In many cases of manslaughter charges, judges have to rely on their own judgement. This is due to the complexity of these kinds of cases and how much they vary. Within these new guidelines though, 4 different categories of manslaughter have been highlighted:
– Unlawful act manslaughter (this is where deaths are unintentional and are as a result of an assault).
– Manslaughter by reason of loss of control (for example, this could be a spontaneous reaction to a situation).
– Gross negligence manslaughter (this is where there has been a breach of a certain duty of care).
– Manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility (this is where the offender has been suffering from a recognised mental health condition).
These new guidelines were not introduced to alter sentence levels though. Instead, it was to encourage transparency and consistency with cases. However, when it comes to companies and bosses though, it is likely that gross negligence sentences will increase for those who have seriously neglected their employees and has, as such, resulted in their deaths.
For example, just last year a construction boss was jailed after a pedestrian was killed by a falling window. Convicted of gross negligent manslaughter, it was found that the boss had shown “reckless disregard” for the situation. Take a look at the full report on this here.
This isn’t the only case of its kind either. In fact, another construction boss was jailed last year after one of his apprentices was seriously burnt and injured on site. This was found to be at the fault of the construction boss who neglected to ensure that the burning of materials was being carried out safely. Not only that but afterwards, he didn’t send him to the hospital either. Two things he really needed! Read the full story here.
Lord Justice Holroyde, a member of the Sentencing Council stated: “Manslaughter offences vary hugely – some cases are not far from being an accident, while others may be just short of murder.”
“While no sentence can make up for the loss of life, this guideline will help ensure sentencing that properly reflects the culpability of the offender and the unique facts of each case.”
Justice minister Rory Stewart added: “Manslaughter is an extremely serious offence, causing immeasurable pain to families who lose their loved ones.”
“So it is vital our courts have clear, consistent guidance in these often complex cases – such as when both individuals and employers are involved.”
“These guidelines will make sure sentences reflect the severity of the crime, helping protect workers and keep communities safe.”
With these new guidelines though, could there be an impact on site? And more consequences for those bosses who end up neglecting their staff? Let us know what you think in the comments below.