Following a three month trial, a company and mining manager have been found “not guilty” of the manslaughter of four colleagues who died in a tragic mining accident in South Wales. The company, MNS Mining was charged with Corporate Manslaughter and the mining manager with four charges of manslaughter.
In September 2011, four workers drowned when around 650,000 gallons of water flooded the mine while they were carrying out work involving explosives inside the mine. The company and manager was charged with the alleged failure to conduct adequate safety checks behind the coal face before instructing workers to blast it. Along with the evidence from witnesses and experts; the mining manager argued that he had inspected the mine three times to ensure the work could be carried out safely. It is reported that the expert Geologist said it was “possible” and “probable” that the water had collected after the mining manager’s inspections.
This is the first case where manslaughter charges against an individual, in conjunction with corporate manslaughter charges, have been defended in full. This was the third trial under the 2007 legislation and in previous cases, charges against directors have been dropped when the company tendered a guilty plea, without a trial taking place. In the Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings trial, charges against the director and owner were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service as a result of the individual’s poor health.