Firm ordered to publicise wrongdoing after manslaughter conviction

A company, which has since ceased trading, has been ordered to ensure that details of its conviction for corporate manslaughter are published in local newspapers. The publicity order requires Mobile Sweepers (Reading) Limited to arrange for text, drafted by Judge Boney sitting at Winchester Crown Court, to appear in the Basingstoke Gazette and Newbury Weekly News.

The company and director Mervyn Owens were prosecuted after an employee was crushed to death by the hopper of a road sweeper that he was maintaining. A prop designed to hold the hopper in position couldn’t be used because it had rusted and the company had failed to ensure safe maintenance procedures for its activities.

As the company only had assets of £12,000 it was fined just £8,000, but Mr Owens was personally fined £183,000 and disqualified from holding office as a director for five years.

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