DPP v Monaghan (Drogheda) Ltd

 
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[2014] IECA 52

THE COURT OF APPEAL

Ryan P.

Birmingham J.

Sheehan J.

314CJA/12
DPP v Monaghan (Drogheda) Ltd
In the matter Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993
The People at the Suit of the Director of Public Prosecutions
v
Patrick Monaghan (Drogheda) Limited
Respondent

314CJA/2012 - Sheehan - Court of Appeal - 17/11/2014 - 2014 IECA 52

Sentencing – Work safety – Undue leniency – Appellant seeking review of sentence – Whether application to review was statute barred

Introduction
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1. This is an application by the Director of Public Prosecutions for a review of the sentence imposed on Patrick Monaghan (Drogheda) Limited pursuant to s. 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1993.

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2. On the 1 st May, 2012, the respondent pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to ss. 12 and 77(9)(a) of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, namely failure as an employer to manage and conduct his or her undertaking in such a way as to ensure so far as was reasonably practical that, in the course of the work being carried on, individuals at the place of work (not being his or her employees) were not exposed to risks to their safety, health and welfare.

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3. The respondent was fined €25,000 and directed to pay the sum of €5,290.55 by way of expenses with distress in default.

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4. The maximum penalty for this offence on a body corporate is a fine of €3 million.

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3. The respondent was fined €25,000 and directed to pay the sum of €5,290.55 by way of expenses with distress in default.

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4. The maximum penalty for this offence on a body corporate is a fine of €3 million.

Background
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5. The accident which gave rise to the prosecution in this case happened at Town Quay in Drogheda. Co. Louth on the 10 th November, 2009. Town Quay is a port area which at that time had a long established public right of way. The respondent, a stevedoring company, was loading timber for telegraph poles onto a lorry from four separate stacks which had been unloaded from a ship and left on the quay close to each other.

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6. The Court was told that there were various sightings of a man with his three year old child walking along the quay and coming to stand in the vicinity of one of the stacks of timber beside a single pole lying on the ground. Initially, the child held his father's hand as he walked down the length of the pole, but then wanted to walk on his own. As he got close to the end of the pole the stack beside him was accidentally tipped by a company employee who was trying to load poles from another of the stacks. The intertwined stacks began to collapse and the poles rolled forward. One of these poles hit the child on the legs before rolling on to his chest and crushing him. The child was taken to hospital but tragically did not survive the accident.

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7. An inspector from the Health and Safety Authority told the Court at the sentencing hearing that the practice of having poles overlap from one stack to the next was dangerous as was the lack of chocking or wedging of the outermost poles of the stack using chocks. He said that only one of the four stacks on the quay had vertical stacks to prevent the stack from collapsing.

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8. The Inspector went on to say that while the respondent had carried out a risk assessment for the stacking and unloading and carrying of timber poles at a second premises from which it also worked and which was a closed quay, it had not done so in this situation to take account of the public area associated with Town Quay. He said no exclusion zone had been established and enforced by the respondent while the loading operation was being undertaken and he outlined a number of suitable systems that could have been employed by the respondent.

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