PPS statement following sentencing of Lagan Construction Limited and Newry, Mourne & Down District Council for health and safety offences

Publication date:

A company and a local council were sentenced today at Newry Crown Court for health and safety offences following the death of electrician Matt Campbell in Slieve Gullion Forest Park during Storm Ali on 19 September 2018.

Newry, Mourne & Down District Council pleaded guilty to failing to ensure, so far as reasonably practical, the health and safety of employees and non-employees and failing to make appropriate risk assessments for non-employees and employees. Mr Campbell’s employer, Lagan Construction Limited, pleaded guilty to failing to make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of their employees.

Newry, Mourne & Down District Council was fined £10,000 for each offence, £20,000 in total and Lagan Construction Limited was fined £30,000.

PPS Senior Public Prosecutor Michael McDaid said: “This was a heartbreaking case with grave consequences as a young man tragically lost his life whilst at work.

“Prosecutors in the PPS’s Fraud & Departmental Section worked closely with the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) to build a strong prosecution case, which resulted in the guilty pleas.

“The PPS will continue to work with our enforcement partners to robustly prosecute alleged health and safety offences, where the Test for Prosecution is met. The conclusion of this case should send a clear message to the industry and employers to ensure they have stringent processes in place to ensure others are not exposed to risks to their health and safety and no other lives are tragically lost. 

“We would like to thank all civilian witnesses who made statements that assisted the investigation and we commend Mr Campbell’s family for their dignity and patience throughout the proceedings.”

Notes to editors

1. All decisions by the PPS are taken strictly in accordance with the Test for Prosecution which involves two stages. The Test for Prosecution is met if, in relation to an identifiable suspect, the available evidence is sufficient to provide a reasonable prospect of a conviction (the Evidential Test) and if prosecution is in the public interest (the Public Interest Test). The Evidential Test must be passed first before the Public Interest Test is considered. Further information can be found in the PPS Code for Prosecutors.

2. Media queries for the PPS should be referred to the Communications Unit by emailing ppspressoffice@ppsni.gov.uk inside office hours. The out of hours press officer can be contacted on 07920 271804, 07920 418844 or 07341 800254.