Stop Press: sentencing delayed to 6 May

Lawyers acting for the family of Daniel Dennis, killed after falling through a skylight on the roof of a Matalan store in South Wales have called for Roy Clarke, the owner of North Eastern Roofing, to be given the maximum sentence available to the court.

Sentencing takes place on 28 April, Workers’ Memorial Day.

Clarke earlier this month admitted manslaughter after charges were finally brought against him following Judicial Review proceedings against the Crown Prosecution Service taken by the GMB union and Thompsons Solicitors.

No Safety Training

Clarke failed to tell Daniel, who was 17 and in his first week at work, not to go onto the roof at the store in Cwmbran, Gwent in April 2003. Daniel’s father, Peter Dennis, had warned the employer that his son had received no safety training and should not work at heights.

The case however exposes a serious gap in the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act (CMCH), which became law on 6 April.

Clarke could never have been prosecuted under the CMCH, even had it been law when Daniel was killed, because he is a sole trader.

Mick Antoniw, the lawyer from Thompsons Solicitors in Cardiff acting for the Dennis family said: “It is fitting that sentencing in Daniel’s case takes place on Workers Memorial Day, the day that we remember the hundreds of people killed at work each year due to the negligence of their employers.

“We call on the court to hand down the toughest sentence available, to demonstrate that judges are prepared to see justice is done where an employer is responsible for the death of a worker. 

"We welcome the new corporate manslaughter law but will continue to campaign for specific legal duties to be imposed on directors of companies so that they can individually be held to account for the way in which they run their companies.

“Prevention is a running theme of Workers’ Memorial Day. We need meaningful deterrents if workplace deaths are to be prevented. Exempting sole traders for the CMCH is not a deterrent.

Allan Garley, Regional Secretary of the GMB South Western Region said: "Justice must be obtained for Daniel Dennis. This case represents a shot across the bows of negligent employers who kill workers. The GMB will pursue those employers who put profit ahead of safety and ensure they are held to account for their actions. "