Royal Yacht Hotel fine drops from £ 350,000 to £ 100,000

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Photo: ROB CURRIE. (31884022)

The company appealed the conviction – handed down by the lower lower number of the Royal Court – in September with its attorney, Michael O’Connell, who made numerous arguments. One of them included criticism of the process by which the tribunal had reached this figure.

At the time, the lawyer said the court began deciding on the fine to be imposed using the health and safety sentencing guidelines. However, he said they then seemed inexplicably to shy away from it with the £ 350,000 fine representing a sentence three times the heaviest ever imposed for a health and safety case. It was a petrochemical company that caused a fire at La Collette Fuel Farm after one of its employees shut down a gas pump using an electric saw.

Speaking in Royal Court this morning, attorney O’Connell said: “It hasn’t been the best Crown hour, I think.”

In the judgment of the upper number – the upper branch of the Royal Court – which explains why the fine was reduced, it says: “The lower number gave no explanation as to how the figure of 350,000 £ has been reached, a figure which is three times the level of the fine imposed by the court in the Petroleum Distribution case.

He adds: “… we find that a fine of £ 350,000 was manifestly excessive and outside the range open to the lower number of information submitted to it, and we have set it aside.”

Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith chaired the appeal. Jurats Charles Blampied, Elizabeth Dulake and Paul Nicolle were also seated.


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