King’s Lynn firm in court over death of worker

The case against PS & J Ward will be heard at Norwich Crown Court.

The case against PS & J Ward will be heard at Norwich Crown Court.

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Corporate manslaughter proceedings against a company whose worker died when a trailer he was towing touched an overhead cable will be heard at Norwich Crown Court.

Grzegorz Pieton, 26, died from an electric shock in July 2010. It happened while he was working for Belmont Nursery at Terrington St Clement, near King’s Lynn.

Today representatives of PS & J Ward, the company which owns the business, appeared before King’s Lynn magistrates to answer charges in connection with Mr Pieton’s death.

The company faces a charge of corporate manslaughter, stating Mr Pieton was “unlawfully killed” by its gross negligence, in breach of its duty to take reasonable care.

The company also faces a charge of failing to ensure the safety of Mr Pieton, under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

During a brief hearing this afternoon, Piers Arnold, prosecuting, said the manslaughter charge was an indictable-only offence, which would have to be tried at crown court.

Miles Bennett, who appeared on behalf of PS & J Ward, said he had no objections.

JPs agreed to transfer the case to Norwich Crown Court, where it will be heard on Friday, December 7. No evidence was heard today.

The case is one of only a handful of corporate manslaughter prosecutions to be brought since the offfence was created five years ago.

When the crown Prosecution service announced it would face charges, PD & J Ward said it had worked closely with police, the Health and safety Executive and other agencies investigating the incident.

“Everyone at Belmont Nursery remains profoundly saddened by the death of Mr Pieton,” it added. “And his family have been, and are constantly, in our thoughts.”

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