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AG’s Reference (2 of 1999)

[2000] Crim LR 475

Case summary last updated at 11/01/2020 15:06 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case AG’s Reference (2 of 1999)

A train crashed and the operator was charged with 7 counts of manslaughter, though these were dropped and he was simply charged of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The questions referred were (1) can someone be convicted of manslaughter via gross negligence where there is no evidence of a crminal state of mind? The answer was “yes” as Adomako had shown, though state of mind was relevant to a jury when considering the “grossness” and “criminality” of the conduct. (2) can a non-human (i.e. corporate) be guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence in the absence of a guilty state of mind of the individual identified offender? The answer was “no” and there were several precedents whereby the absence of a guilty individual had allowed the corporation to be acquitted. If such a change were to be enacted it would be for parliament to declare. 

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