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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-14721: Neil Findlay (Lothian)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 19 February 2018

To ask the Scottish Government how many cases the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) Health and Safety Division has considered for prosecution under its corporate homicide legislation in each year since 2009, and how many subsequent (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there were.

Answered by: James Wolffe QC 2 March 2018

COPFS Health and Safety Division lead the investigation and prosecution of all potential cases under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. Its staff provide advice, support and (in the case of Police Scotland) direction to investigators from Police Scotland, the Health and Safety Executive, local authorities and other regulatory agencies in relation to such cases.

Every fatality at a place of work in Scotland is investigated as a potential corporate homicide. The Work Related Death Protocol for Scotland, signed by COPFS, ACPOS, British Transport Police and the HSE, ensures that when a work-related death occurs, a co-ordinated multi-agency investigation takes place, which allows for all possible offences to be considered.


Once reported to the Crown, each case is carefully considered by lawyers within the COPFS Health and Safety Division, on the basis of the relevant law and the available evidence. Since 2009, 14 cases have been reported to the Crown in respect of potential corporate homicide as well as other charges.

Of these cases, three remain under consideration by the Crown. One case, reported in 2011, was marked for no proceedings. The remaining cases have all resulted in a conviction in solemn proceedings, albeit that there have been no prosecutions or convictions under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. In each of those cases, the accused was convicted, in proceedings under section 76 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 of breaches of section 2 or section 3 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Work 1974. The court has the same sentencing powers in relation to these offences as it has in relation to corporate homicide.