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24.2.10 Camden Council Stand Trial Over Toddler Death

Follow on from Council charged with death HERE


Council to face trial over boy's wall death
24 February 2010

CAMDEN Council pleaded not guilty when it appeared in court over the death of a two-year-old boy crushed to death by a wall.

Saurav Ghai died after a 6ft 6ins brick panel fell on him in Southampton Road, Gospel Oak, on January 18, 2007.

An inquest held at St Pancras Coroner's Court in November 2007 raised issues about the way the panel was attached to the rest of the wall. Camden Council appeared at City of London Magistrates' Court charged with breaching section 33.1 (a) of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The charge alleges that the council failed to "conduct its undertaking in such a way as to ensure, insofar as was reasonably practical, that persons not in its employment - including Saurav Ghai - who might be affected, were not exposed to risks". Camden Council will now face a trial and is due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on March 30.

A council spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that Camden has pleaded not guilty to a charge being pursued by the Health and Safety Executive. Our deepest sympathy remains with Saurav's family. Safety of our residents is a top priority.

Camden council has been charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 as opposed to the
Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homocide Act 2007 as the tragic death occurred before this Act came into being.

Section 37 of the 1974 Act says that an individual director, manager etc shall be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly as well as the corporate body.

Some mystery as to who exactly has been charged and prosecuted for the offence - latest report on the case HERE

When the council was last found guilty of a serious criminal offence and let off with a £40,000 fine, which the local community picked up the bill for, why didn't a senior council officer announce at a public meeting that the 'council' had been 'dealt with by the courts'? Not council policy I suppose.