On 17th October 2000, 4 people were killed and many more were injured when a train, travelling at over 100mph, came off the tracks.

Immediately following the train crash, two companies were fined a record amount for breaches of health and safety. The engineering company, Balfour Beatty and the owners of the track, Network Rail (called Railtrack at the time) were fined £13.5m.

Government Pay Legal Costs

It has now come to light from figures issued under the Freedom of Information Act that both companies have been given £20.9m in defence costs from the government. This money was awarded to them to cover their legal costs after the corporate manslaughter trial fell through.

Mick Antoniw, corporate manslaughter specialist at Thompsons Solicitors, the trade union law firm, said: "It is unjust and inappropriate for Balfour Beatty and Network Rail to have their costs awarded. The case against them was not proved, mainly due to the complexities of the law, but they were given a thrashing by the court, convicted and fined.

“That they are not being made to bear their own costs is yet another insult to the victims of these companies' appalling negligence."

This story was originally reported at www.legal-medical.co.uk.