SCS told fine imposed after death of worker is not ‘manifestly excessive’

Construction firm told they can’t appeal February judgement

A Manx construction company has been refused permission to appeal a £200,000 fine imposed after the death of one of its workers.

Stewart Clague Services Limited took its case to the High Court of Justice of the Isle of Man – the judgement was delivered on Wednesday (21 June).

SCS had previously admitted to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act by not ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees on or before 4 August 2020.

On that day the company’s employee – 56-year-old Gary Skelding – was killed when the scaffolding rig he was working on at King William’s College collapsed; it had been overloaded.

During the Staff of Government Division hearing SCS’s advocate argued that the fine, imposed in February this year, was ‘manifestly excessive’.

He argued that the sentencing deemster, Deemster Sandeep Kainth, had wrongly increased the starting point of the sentence adding that the fine should have been around £136,000.

“This was a difficult sentencing exercise which required the sentencing deemster to express, with care, his reasoning so that the family of the victim, the defendant and members of the public understood the route to sentence.” – Judge of Appeal Cross KC and Deemster Pratt KC

However Judge of Appeal Cross KC, and Deemster Pratt KC, said closer analysis of the facts showed the company could have been judged as being of higher culpability than initially deemed.

The appeal, they said, had ‘no reasonable prospect of success’ – adding that the company was ‘fortunate’ it had been categorised in the way it had.

“There is no doubt that the deemster found as a fact that the offender fell far short of the appropriate standard by failing to put in place measures that are recognised standards in the industry.” – Judge of Appeal Cross KC and Deemster Pratt KC

Leave to appeal the judgement was refused and SCS Limited must now pay legal costs of £1,250.

You can read the full judgement HERE.

The site foreman on 4 August 2020 received a suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of failings leading to Mr Skelding’s death.

You can find the full story HERE.

Manx Radio: Isle of Man News