Balfour Beatty and Network Rail fined over Hatfield crash

The two firms responsible for the Hatfield Rail disaster have been fined £13.5m for breaches of health and safety regulations.

On 17 October 2000 a GNER train travelling from London to Leeds was derailed at Hatfield. Four people died and 102 were injured after a rail broke on the track.

Balfour Beatty was fined £10m while Network Rail – formerly Railtrack – was fined £3.5m.

Five executives from the companies were cleared of corporate manslaughter, prompting fresh calls for new laws to hold executives personally liable for the deaths of staff members.
The two firms responsible for the Hatfield Rail disaster have been fined £13.5m for breaches of health and safety regulations
During the hearing this July, Justice Mackay said that, as the law stood, he had no choice but to dismiss charges of corporate manslaughter against Balfour Beatty and five executives employed by balfour Beatty and Railtrack.

“This case continues to underline a pressing need for the long-delayed reform of the law in this area of unlawful killing,” he said. “Some will seem lucky to have escaped prosecution.”

It is difficul to gain a conviction under the present law because the onus is on the prosecution to prove that criminal acts were committed by the ‘controlling mind’ of the company that had been grossly negligent.

The government promised to introduce a Bill to reform the law in 1997, but is still consulting about its

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