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R v DPP ex parte Jones [2000] IRLR 373 Court of Appeal

Jones was decapitated by the jaws of grab bucket on a crane. The Jaws of the bucket had been adapted so that open bags could be attached to hooks fitted within the bucket which had made them dangerous. The action was brought to challenge the decision not to prosecute the employer for gross negligence manslaughter. The CPS made the decision based on the lack of subjective recklessness on the part of the managing director.


The CPS were wrong to base their decision on the lack of subjective recklessness since a conviction does not require the defendant to be subjectively reckless.

Buxton LJ:

"The law is, therefore, quite clear. If the accused is subjectively reckless, then that may be taken into account by the jury as a strong factor demonstrating that his negligence was criminal, but negligence will still be criminal in the absence of any recklessness if on an objective basis the defendant demonstrated what, for instance, Lord Mackay quoted the Court of Appeal in Adomako as describing as:
'failure to advert to a serious risk going beyond mere inadvertence in respect of an obvious and important matter which the defendant's duty demanded that he should address. That is a test in objective terms."
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