Case Essay: Corporate Manslaughter

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Criminal Law Essay – Corporate Manslaughter Case Facts Erik, a driver for JunkShift Ltd hit Sam driving a van owned by JunkShift Ltd. Sam was taken to the hospital, Doctor Dotty prescribed a drug which Sam suffered an allergic reaction to the drug which caused him to suffocate. The nursing staffs did not notice Sam’s problems and therefore Sam died. A report indicated Erik, the driver of the van, was speeding when he hit Sam and overloaded his van. Melissa followed the instructions by the Director of Human Resources of JunkShift Ltd to cut cost and increase profits by hiring people with a lower wage. Therefore, Melissa hired Erik. Issue The current question is to decide whether a prosecution is worth bringing against JunkShift Ltd for corporate…show more content…
The jury will decide whether there was a gross breach of duty. It can be argued that there is a breach of duty: Erik was speeding whilst driving and that is already a breach of duty of a reasonable driver. In Nettleship v Weston9, it was held that a learner driver is expected to meet the same standard as a reasonable qualified competent driver, so therefore it can be argued that Erik is expected to meet the standard of a reasonable driver. As Erik was speeding and driving without a license, he has therefore grossly breached the duty of care owed to Sam. JunkShift Ltd. is also responsible for Erik’s liability as he is an employee. JunkShift Ltd. may argue that Erik had conned them with a fake license, but after all, Erik is still without a license and applying the thin skull rule, JunkShift Ltd. must take Erik as they find him. Just like in R v Hayward10, it was concluded that it is irrelevant whether the defendant was aware of the situation. When the incident occurred, the van was carrying goods weighing up to 2 tons when the maximum load for the van is 1.5 tons. There is definitely a gross breach of duty of JunkShift Ltd and this is also a strict liability offence, they should not allow their vans to breach the loading limit. From Erik’s perspective, he could argue that he did not know that was 2 tons of goods as he is only a driver and could argue that he genuinely believed the goods were only 1.5 tons. However, this…show more content…
Firstly, we shall discuss the decision to promote Melissa from receptionist to manager of the Melchester depot. Melissa received no training in such field and had no experience in management, was it negligent and reckless to promote Melissa without any training? Following the judgment in R v G&R17 for its principle of criminal recklessness, it defined criminal recklessness as “if in the circumstance known to him, unreasonable to take the risk.” It would not be unforeseeable that the lack of training in management would lead to a her not performing her duties competently and make serious mistakes such as hiring Erik without performing the necessary checks. However Melissa does not qualify as senior management of the company. Looking at the case facts, she did not make any decisions that would represent the mind and will of the company. For the most important decision, which is made by the Director of Human Resources of JunkShift Ltd., to reduce to wage to increase profits and told the regional managers to ignore the lack of relevant experience. As the Director of Human Resources, he will be treated as a senior directing mind of the company. Therefore, following the Adomako18 test, it is crucial to decide whether his decision had grossly breached any duties and that breach of duty

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