MNS Mining Ltd charged following tragic death of four miners
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is prosecuting both the manager and the company who operated the Gleision Colliery, the scene of a tragic accident in which four miners lost their lives.
The incident occurred in September 2011. Charles Breslin, Philip Hill, Garry Jenkins and David Powell were all killed when the mine in which they were working was flooded by 500,000 gallons of water.
The incident was investigated by South Wales Police, who were supported by the Health and Safety Executive. The investigation aimed to identify the underlying causes of the failures. On completion, the investigation teams referred the incident to the CPS. The CPS recently concluded that prosecution is in the public interest and there is a realistic prospect of conviction.
It was alleged that the mine manager, Malcolm Fyfield, caused the deaths of the four miners by mining into old, previously flooded mine workings, contrary to safety regulations. As such he has been charged with four counts of gross negligence manslaughter. This is the first occasion on which a non-director’s actions have been the basis for a corporate manslaughter charge, and may lead to judicial consideration of what amounts to “senior management” under the Act.
On 19 June 2014 MNS Mining was found not guilty of corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, following a three month trial at Swansea Crown Court. The mine manager, Malcolm Fyfield, employed by MNS was found not guilty of gross negligence manslaughter. The company was on trial for four offences of corporate manslaughter and the mine manager with four offences of manslaughter.