no embargo - 7 December 2010 ( Back to news releases)
Justice at last?
Sentencing of Deeside Metals, Jeyes and Mr Roberts Monday 13th December at Caernarfon Crown Court over offences linked to the death of Mark Wright on 12th April 2005
Families Against Corporate Killers, friends and family, will hold a silent vigil outside Caernarfon Crown Court from 9am to 12 noon demanding justice for Mark and his family
On 12th April 2005 Mark Wright who worked at Deeside Metals in Saltney, near Chester, was ordered by his general manager to bale 4,000 sealed aerosol containers, which came from Jeyes of Mold. This was contrary to the manager’s own risk assessment and expressly forbidden by the baling machine manual. A cloud of volatile vapour was released and ignited by an electric spark. The roof was blown off the building and Mark suffered 90 per cent burns in the explosion and died the next day (1). Mark was 37, married with two children Leigh and Megan.
Deeside Metal, Mark’s employer, has pleaded guilty to charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act (HASAWA) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations. Jeyes of Mold , where the aerosols originated, has pleaded guilty to a charge under HASAWA. Mr Roberts, the General Manager at Deeside Metals, was charged with manslaughter but this charge has been dropped and he pleaded guilty to a charge under section 7 of the HASAWA.
FACK spokesperson said: “Justice delayed is justice denied. It is a disgrace that the case has taken nearly 6 years to reach the stage of those responsible being held to account for their actions which led to Mark’s death, and it has caused the family much additional distress. It also fails to act as any credible deterrent on other employers. Mistakes have been admitted by the CPS and the family also suffered a change of coroner and a long wait for the inquest. We will support the family in a silent vigil outside the sentencing hearing in the hope that some sort of justice is finally given to them by a criminal justice system which has badly let them down.”
Dorothy Wright, Mark’s mother said: “Like every responsible law abiding citizen I thought that it was the government’s primary duty to protect our lives and the justice system would ensure that adequate and deterrent penalties applied to those who killed innocent victims. Having been treated with callous incompetence, systemic failure and deliberate cover up for last 6 years I now know that there is NO protection and very little justice for those killed by negligent employers. Our son's terrible death was totally avoidable had Roberts and Deeside Metal cared about protecting their employees' lives. At the Inquest we heard that Roberts, the manager at Deeside told police that Mark's death, caused by Roberts' own negligence, was simply 'Mark's' fate. Mr. A. Graham the director said he didn't bother with written risk assessments as his workers were all 'illiterate'. Roberts was described to us by CPS as 'by any standard incredibly stupid'.
How then can any responsible government ever think that the 'common sense' of unscrupulous men such as these would protect workers if the so called 'burden' of Health and Safety law, and its enforcement is removed?(2) Not only have we lost our much loved son, we have lost all faith in everything that this country represents and we are left feeling only betrayed and angry.”
FACK was set up by families like Dorothy and Douglas to make people aware of the risks workers face, and to campaign for better preventative enforcement and justice for families (3)
For more information contact Hilda Palmer 0161 636 7557, mobile 07929 800240
Dorothy Wright 07818442083
Notes for editors
2. The government is supporting Lord Young’s ‘Common Sense Common Safety’ Report and massive cuts in enforcement via the Comprehensive Spending Review 35% cuts to the HSE budget and 28% cuts to Local Authority budgets.
3. FACK was set in 2006 by families like Douglas and Dorothy Wright who have suffered a work-related bereavement see www.fack.org.uk , see FACK aims: http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/fack/about/fackleaflet10.pdf
4 FACK DVD ‘Face the FACKs: the human cost of workplace killing’ which tells the stories of ten of our members and what we are campaigning about, is available for £10.00 http://www.hazardscampaign.org.uk/fack/resources/facethefacks.pdf