First Corporate Manslaughter Conviction – Could You Be Next?

On the 16th February 2011, at Winchester Crown Court, Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings became the first company to be convicted of the offence of Corporate Manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. They were fined a total £385,000.00.

The conviction by jury follows a lengthy trial into the death of Alex Wright. Mr. Wright was a young geologist employed by the company, who died on the 5th September 2008. The case against Cotswold Geotechnical Holdings was directed at the company’s failure to protect the young geologist from working in dangerous conditions.

In convicting the company, the jury found that the system of digging trial pits was unnecessarily dangerous and that in doing so, the company was ignoring well-recognised industry guidance in this area.

The prosecutor told the jury that: “The substantial cause of Alex Wright’s death was the failure of the company to manage its affairs so as to comply with its legal duty to ensure that Alex Wright’s health was not put at risk.”

How could this possibly affect organisations who advocate the use of physical force ?

1. How many organisations allow staff to work in foreseeably hazardous and knowingly dangerous conditions, yet allow the situation to remain dangerous by doing nothing about it?

2. How many organisations are allowing staff to be taught to restrain on their own when it is well documented that single–person restraint increases the risk of harm to staff and the person being restrained?

3. How many organisations are still teaching physical restraint techniques that have the potential to increase the risk of positional asphyxia, like basket-holds or the seated double-embrace technique, yet think they have made it somehow safe by changing what they call it?

To read more, including copies of our correspondence to the Minister for Educatin, go to:


I am the Director and National Coach Tutor of NFPS Ltd., a specialist provider of Conflict Risk Management Consultancy and Training with specific expertise in Physical Restraint, Breakaway and Self-Defence. In addition to providing training, advice, consultancy and guidance on the physiological aspects mentioned above, we also provide training in NLP, Hypnosis and Meditation as these skills combined provide a holistic way to improve our psychology. By helping people improve both, their physiology and their psychology, we provide a complete and holistic approach to training and development.

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Posted in Positional Asphyxia, Reasonable Force, Self Defence Instructors

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