Lawyers call for law change after farmer escapes jail for death of biker07 December 2001
Motorcyclist killed in accident
Lawyers acting for the widow of Richard Fletcher, the motorcyclist who was killed by the unprotected forks of a farm vehicle, have called on the government to bring in tough new corporate killing laws.
Edward Muntz, the Solihull farmer found guilty on 23 November of causing the death of Richard Fletcher, today escaped a jail sentence. He and Thomas Marchant, the farm labourer also found guilty of causing Richard's death by dangerous driving, were each given 6 month suspended prison sentences.
Muntz was fined £2,500 and Marchant £750.
The law on corporate killing must change
Peter Mulhern, of Birmingham-based Thompsons Solicitors, the UK's largest personal injury and trade union law firm, said that while he welcomed the guilty verdict, the failure of the court to pass a tougher sentence illustrated why the law on corporate killing must change.
"Company bosses, and that includes farmers, must be held accountable for breaches of health and safety that result in the death of employees or members of the public. The fact that Edward Muntz was found guilty of aiding and abetting causing death by dangerous driving was a welcome verdict, but the fact is that it is extremely difficult to bring prosecutions of this sort and when they are successful they rarely result in a custodial sentence.
"The government has been talking for far too long about bringing in a new corporate killing law to impose tougher penalties, including jail sentences, on company bosses who allow breaches of health and safety. It is time to stop talking and just get on with it."
Caught on the unprotected forks of tractor
Despite handing down a lenient punishment, the judge in the case did issue a harsh verbal warning that the case of Muntz and Marchant should stand as an example to the farming industry.
Stratford-upon-Avon born Richard Fletcher, a pilot who flew popstars and VIPs across Europe in his executive jet, was killed in August last year when riding his motorbike on Spring Lane, Hockley Heath near Solihull. He was caught on the unprotected front forks of the tractor being driven by Marchant.
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