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Mike Atkins secures acquittal for director in bar cellar hatch case

Mike Atkins successfully defended a company director charged with neglect in this 7 day trial before a jury at Teesside Crown Court.

In September 2012 an employee at a well-known bar in Middlesbrough suffered serious injuries when she fell 2.5 metres through an open cellar hatch. The hatch was open that morning because it was delivery day but the employee had never previously worked when deliveries were taking place.

Middlesbrough Borough Council prosecuted both the company that owned the bar (represented by James Hill Q.C.) and the director. The director accepted that he had responsibility for health and safety within the company and that he had been the manager on duty at the time the accident happened. The Council alleged that the control measures in place were insufficient and that this was due to personal failures on the part of the director.

The jury unanimously acquitted the director but were unable to reach a verdict in the case of the company. The Council have not yet confirmed whether there is to be a second trial of the company.


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