The human rights implications of criminal law doctrine

Mark is the site manager of a small family-run company, Morgan’s Building Ltd. There are four directors of the company. The company has ten other employees. Mark is a hands-on manager, in that he often works alongside staff on various projects. One such project has been taking soil samples from trenches in an area that has been used for drift mining. During the time that the project has been ongoing, weather conditions at the site have made the work difficult as there have been exceptionally high levels of rainfall.
Two employees, Mike and Roy have expressed their concern that the heavy rain has made the site unstable. They have also asked for maps of the site as local people have told them that the hillside where the work is being carried out has many old mine shafts that are not obvious to the naked eye. Mark has been working for the company for 25 years. He feels that as a result of his level of experience he ‘has a feel for dangerous’ conditions. He tends to be rather scathing over what he describes as ‘elf and safety’ and likes to use his own judgement rather than adhere to rules. The company directors like to leave operational matters at the site to Mark because they believe, ‘he gets the job done’. They are aware that an employee has recently left the company as a result of his concerns over safety and there is a letter on file at company headquarters to that effect. There have also been a couple of near misses where employees have narrowly escaped injury because of safety breaches.
Mark is working alongside Mary, a geologist and they have been taking samples from a trench just inside the entrance to one of the old drift mines when the wall of the mine collapses and the area is flooded. Mark manages to escape with minor injuries but Mary is trapped and the emergency services are unable to save her and she tragically drowns.

Provide an explanation of the potential for criminal liability in respect of the company and the individual directors and of Mark, as site manager.

1.Identify and understand the ingredients of criminal liability, both generally
and as they apply to factual situations

2.Identify and understand the human rights implications of criminal law doctrine
and of particular crimes

3.Identify the social and human rights contexts in which the criminal law operates


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