Bernard Thorogood - Inquests, Public Inquiries and Coronial Law
Bernard Thorogood practises in the most serious categories of Health and Safety and other Regulatory cases and this often involves him in the build-up to and conduct of Inquests. Has a particular interest in acquiring full disclosure ahead of the hearing. Has acted as Counsel to the Inquest. Acted for the Fire Service at the Hillsborough Inquest.
He offers a comprehensive service, usually instructed from well before the Inquest, including many cases against the background of earlier corporate and gross negligence manslaughter investigations. Ready to use the High Court when decisions below merit Review.
He represents and advises individuals as well as large organisations, including major businesses, Fire and Rescue Services, Police Forces and other public bodies, in relation to Inquests and associated Regulatory matters. He advises in respect of potential gross negligence manslaughter charges arising from a wide range of activities. He has advised, prosecuted and defended in many manslaughter cases arising from health and safety backgrounds, as well as conducted a very large number of fatal Regulatory cases.
Subject matter includes all aspects of manufacturing, construction (including adequacy of materials/systems), the health and social care sectors, local government, transport, pressure vessels, logistics, permits to work, asbestos, confined spaces, farming accidents, cases of “domestic” and commercial fatal gassing, and including the widespread release of toxic fumes affecting scores of people (non-fatal). Very extensive experience of mining cases, including falls of ground, ventilation and operation of heavy equipment. Particular experience of fire safety issues across the UK.
His trademarks include thorough attention to detail and getting to grips with complex and technical evidence. Works throughout the country. Travels to client’s workplace, particularly in order to get to grips with the finer details of such processes, technicalities or environments, as might be relevant to the case in hand.
His previous work with Directors and Companies, in relation to financial and Company law, facilitates additional insight into the workings of large organisations. His year on a production shop floor in industry helps keep focus on the reality of industrial practices.
He has appeared for/advised many prominent national organisations/businesses, including several national construction Companies, Shell UK, British Sugar, Robert Wiseman Dairies, Scottish and Southern Power, Four Seasons Healthcare, Boots PLC, G4S, The Building Research Establishment, Several Fire and Rescue Services, many National Health Service Trusts, Dunlop, Smurfitt Kappa UK, Railcare Limited, Independent Television News, Aggregate Industries (UK) Limited, N.D.A. (formely NIREX), Sandvik, Lifeways, Aston University, Noble Foods Limited, Kuehne and Nagle Limited, Cemex, Barclays Bank. Has also been involved with very many like businesses for the Regulators.
Member of Health and Safety Lawyers Association, Forensic Science Society, Agricultural Law Association, Criminal Bar Association.
10 May 2009 – Commissioned to speak to NPIA National Conference about the impact of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, in particular upon firearms training.
HSE Specialist Panel of Advocates – List ‘A’.
SELECTED INQUEST CASES OF INTEREST
Current – Coventry Coroner’s Court –
Acting for the Local Authority – stock topple/collapse in warehouse (national employer) - causing death and other serious injuries – substantial questions of law and complex factual history to unravel and present in evidence.
South Wales Coroner’s Court – February 2017 –
Acting for the School - death of student at school – complex history to master – relationship between Local Authority and its School to be navigated with care. Case highlighted significant design issues and need for stakeholders to be more involved throughout design and construction, so that school transport arrangements were fit for purpose.
North Lincolnshire Coroner’s Court – February 2017 –
Acting for St John Ambulance – drug related death at a large music festival – very complex issues involving competing expert analyses – very substantial factual and legal issues to address – conclusions supported St John Ambulance position.
Loughborough Coroners Court – January 2017 –
Acting for the Local Authority- death of security operative at large music festival – consideration of extent of employer’s duties – nature of operative’s engagement dictated extent of employer’s duties.
Black Country Coroner’s Court – September 2016 –
For a national employer – workplace transport issues – particularly coupling/reversing. Jury Inquest adjourned on the day it was first due to begin, due to late emergence of important expert evidence which needed to be considered and tested. Resumed some months later, and ran 5 days, including significant engineering/process detail.
Cannock Coroner's Court - April 2016 -
Acting for the family after their student daughter appeared to have taken her own life - substantial and important disclosure obtained – of considerable significance at Inquest. Sensitive nature given the circumstances and associated possible criminal proceedings. Subsequent criminal proceedings were launched concerning the individual against whom the deceased had made a complaint, but these were dropped close to trial.
South Yorkshire Coroner’s Court - February 2016 –
For the employer - complex issues concerning very high pressures on mineral oil in vapour form - the so-called “dieseling” effect - fire and explosion in high pressure system - several sets of complicated engineering and scientific reports to deal with.
Nottingham Coroner’s Court – October 2015
For the Local Authority – vulnerable service-user died whilst the subject of one-to-one supervision in Council’s care. Issues of the adequacy of (the Local Authority’s) training, systems and management examined. Court shown that the Council had done a good job, and had not contributed to the death.
Bedfordshire Coroner’s Court – February 2015
Representing NHSLA on behalf of now dissolved Primary Care Trust – fatal fall from window by confused elderly patient. After Inquest and representations HSE decided, contrary to initial indications, not to charge.
Cornwall Coroner’s Court – January 2015
Representing a school after pupil’s death, following overdose of prescription drugs. Coroner found school’s support for troubled pupil to be “exemplary”, contrary to certain suggestions made by other IP.
Represented Fire and Rescue Service.
Counsel to Inquest – Gloucestershire – February 2014
In sensitive case (prisoner took his own life). Issues of adequacy of prison monitoring and care. A high profile and difficult inquiry.
R (On the Application of the Worcestershire Coroner) v Worcester Safeguarding Children Board 2013 EWHC 1711- May 2014
Extent of proper disclosure of sensitive material. Looked–after young person took her own life – a very sensitive case for several reasons. Case made the subject of Chief Coroner’s Note “The Worcestershire Case: Disclosure to the Coroner, not to the Public.” Inquest concluded in early 2014.
Lincolnshire Coroner’s Court – January 2014
Death of a Red Arrows pilot following operation of the ejection seat whilst still on the runway. Hugely technical issues of engineering and project management considered over a number of weeks.
Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Court – November 2013
Representing a Local Authority (as Regulator) in a matter concerning the conduct of a well known national employer. Findings of considerable importance to subsequent prosecution for fatal health and safety breaches.
Trafford Coroner’s Court – November 2013
Acting for care provider in relation to fatality which occurred in respite (care) home. Choking – questions of suitability of care plans, training and feeding regime. Careful re-examination of evidence founded argument (later accepted) that any breach had not caused the death.
Warwickshire Coroner’s Court – May 2013
For a leading cement manufacturer, following fatal fall on its site – substantial and important disclosure obtained – of considerable significance at Inquest.
North Yorkshire Coroner’s Court – April 2013
Case of death following a roof collapse in a deep coal mine – complex issues of geology and strata stabilisation.
Gloucester Coroner’s Court – February 2013
For a specialist road surfacing manufacturer and contractor, following a death on a road it had recently laid. Highly technical materials considered, concerning materials performance and project management. No charges laid following Inquest.
Gloucester Coroner’s Court – December 2012
Representing a County Fire and Rescue Service throughout several days of Inquest, with a view to demonstrating that the failures associated with a fire suppression system cylinder were not those of the Fire and Rescue Service. No subsequent charges against the FARS – though others were charged.
West Yorkshire Coroner’s Court – November 2012
For the Regulator death underground in National Coal Mining Museum – jury found – inter alia - risk assessment/method statement were part of the problem. Finding of significance to successful resolution of subsequent prosecution.
Southend Coroner’s Court – September 2012
Fall from hospital window – acting for NHS Trust –careful analysis of complex web of regulation concerning security of windows in healthcare sector. Evidence obtained founded basis for successful resolution of subsequent case.
Gloucester Coroner’s Court – April 2012
Acting for Local Authority in case of death of young girl by drowning – careful analysis of duties of lifeguards and facility operator. Findings of great significance in subsequent prosecution.
Lincoln Coroner’s Court – December 2011
Acting for national employer - careful examination of lighting levels and adequacy of working platform. Open verdict secured. As a result of matters developed in evidence, the fact that there was no prosecution was made plain very shortly after the Inquest.
Essex Coroner’s Court – November 2011
Multi-handed inquiry into complex lifting operation. Contractor control examined. As a result of matters developed in evidence, there was no prosecution of Mr Thorogood’s client, though others were.
Stourport Coroner’s Court – November 2011
Acting for farmers - case requiring substantial and searching questioning to demonstrate that clients were not responsible for the accident which lead to death (fall from height during construction of new farm building). Farmers not prosecuted – the man that accused them of being responsible was.
Cumbria Coroner’s Court – June 2011
Representing ecological ground workers who were utilising CE marked Italian equipment, which fragmented in use and killed a member of the workforce. Exploration of significance of CE marking. Successfully resisted argument for unlawful killing verdict. Findings of importance to subsequent prosecution.
Birmingham Coroner’s Court – December 2010
Representing Charity specialising in looking after homeless middle-aged men, with various problems. Death from scalding – issues of hot water management.
Derby Coroner’s Court – November 2010
Representing farmer driving farm vehicle, who had not seen his young grandson until too late. Ruling that he was unfit to give evidence. Most unusually the case was resolved with a caution immediately after the Inquest.
Wiltshire Coroner’s Court – August 2010
Acting for national employer – widely publicised road traffic accident – clear finding that employer and driver not at fault. There was no subsequent prosecution.
Warwickshire Coroner’s Court – April 2010
Acting for leading cement manufacturer – heavy engineering plant in which chemical explosion grew from unusual conditions.
Shropshire Coroner’s Court – December 2009
Acting for school, following fatality arising from collapse of class-room during demolition – role of client – significance of CDM. Evidence gathered during Inquest of great significance to successful resolution of subsequent prosecution.
Manchester Coroner’s Court – November 2009
Evidence from client’s own expert of great influence to enquiry – intense and complex examination arising from failure of temporary (steel) works during very substantial project. The client’s own expert was adopted by the Coroner and called to give evidence. Role of Structural Engineer. Role of CDM. Significance of Temporary Works. Client not, thereafter, prosecuted.
Dudley Coroner’s Court – July 2009
Evidence from client’s own expert disclosed to Inquest – of great significance to outcome - Legionella could not (as a result) be connected to the workplace under scrutiny. Inquest foreshortened by several witnesses and a day and a half as a result. Client not, thereafter, prosecuted.
Worcestershire Coroner’s Court – March 2009
For Local Authority - death resulting from Eventing – technical engineering issues examined closely – questions of tensile and shear strength.
Warwickshire Coroner’s Court – November 2008/February 2009
For H.M. Mining Inspectorate - 3 deaths in deep coal mine – issues of ventilation, fall of ground, transport – complex issues closely examined in 3 separate but consecutive Inquests.
Shropshire Coroner’s Court – April 2008
For major national manufacturer – death from boiler explosion– adequacy of expert examination prior to explosion. Client’s own expert called by Coroner. Findings of importance to successful resolution of subsequent prosecution (client acquitted).
Gloucester Coroner’s Court – July 2007
For Local Authority in case of death of toddler in nursery care following entanglement in cord left in cot. Unlawful killing returned. Local Authority subsequently charged health and safety offences, securing convictions.
Birmingham Coroner’s Court – January 2007
Instructed for Police Force - death in psychiatric hospital following short period in custody. No prosecution brought.
Nottingham Coroner’s Court – November 2006
Acting for Interested Party (Public Authority) following suicide alleged to be linked to workplace pressures. No link found by jury and no prosecution brought.
Derby Coroner’s Court – December 2004
For Local Authority - fatal accident involving a child, following collapse of park railings. Highly sensitive case.