Wed, 30 Apr 2014
On 28 April, Bernard Thorogood completed the prosecution of Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust at Stafford Crown Court. Mr Justice Haddon-Cave imposed a fine of £200,000 in relation to the events which lead to the “wholly avoidable and tragic death” of Gillian Astbury. Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said that had the Trust been a profitable commercial organisation the fine would have been £1 million. In the circumstances he gave a greater than usual credit by reducing the fine from £400,000 to £200,000. The 50% reduction was used rather than the usual maximum, due to the Trust’s very early admission of culpability and high level of co-operation in the investigation.
The Court relied upon the recent case of R v Sellafield and R v Network Rail Infrastructure Limited  EWCA Crim 49 and the Judge found a high level of culpability, with systemic failures. This case was the only prosecution following the Francis Inquiry into the failings at the Trust and the Judge sent out a strong message to all organisations responsible for the care and welfare of members of the public.
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