The Nursery, with two sites, was prosecuted by a Local Authority for an offence contrary to Section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 after a three-year-old toddler’s finger became trapped in an internal fire door in one of the premises. The toddler’s fingertip was amputated by the door and the toddler required emergency medical treatment.
Applying the Health and Safety Offences Definitive Guideline, the Local Authority in its initial Case Summary expressed the view that the starting point should be a fine of £30,000 within a category range of £14,000 to £70,000.
Lee liaised with the representatives of the Local Authority with regards to the Case Summary and persuaded them that there were no factors increasing seriousness and all factors reducing seriousness were applicable. Additionally, Lee successfully persuaded the Local Authority that they should reassess their approach to the likelihood of harm occurring.
Before the sentence hearing Lee advised on the preparation of a defence bundle and prepared a sentencing note for the Magistrates. The Nursery’s accounts showed a turnover of £1.28 million.
At the sentence hearing the Local Authority through their barrister made submissions that the correct starting point on the Guideline was £14,000, within a category range of £6,000 to £25,000.
Lee persuaded the Magistrates to impose a sentence of just £800. Costs were agreed at £2800.
This was a great result for the Nursery, which could have been fined tens of thousands of pounds. The result was due to proactive discussions with the Local Authority and the preparation of a defence bundle and note that painted the Nursery in the best possible light.
Lee was instructed by Paul Loughlin and Emily Hill of Stephensons Solicitors LLP. If you would like to instruct Lee then please contact David Wright on 0161 832 5701.