CPS failure to prosecute Council for manslaughter
starts Tuesday 18 March 2003
The High Court begins a two day hearing on whether
a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service not to
prosecute Salford City Council, and/or a careworker,
for the manslaughter of a 30 year old man in the Councils
care, was lawful.
The case is being brought by the Brenda Rowley, the
mother of Malcolm Rowley who died in July 1998. Her
solicitor is Karen Ashton of Tyndallwoods solicitors.
is the first time that a challenge has ever been made
against the CPS concerning a failure to prosecute
a council for manslaughter,
case - R (on the application of Brenda Rowley)
v DPP (ref: C0/2253/2002) - starts at 10
am on Tuesday 18 March 2003 at the High Court in London
See below for details of the
facts of the case
To contact Karen Asthon at Tyndallwoods - 0121 243
contact the CCA - 0207 490 4494
Brief Details of Case
Malcom Rowley, who had severe learning and physical
disabilities and lived in a residential care home
run by Salford City Council, drowned on 18 July 1998
when he was left unattended in a bath. He was unable
to sit in a bath without assistance and had no capacity
for self rescue.
The death was investigated by both the HSE and the
police. In October 1999, she was informed that there
was to be no manslaughter prosecution.
An inquest then took place in December and returned
a verdict of accidental death contributed to
be neglect. Brenda Rowley felt that the inquest
left unanswered some important questions about the
precise circumstances of Malcolms death and
the role of the Council.
In February 2000, the CPS wrote to Brenda Rowley informing
her that its decision had not changed. The CPS letter
placed heavy reliance on the fact that corporate
failures played a significant part
in her sons death, but stated that issues concerned
with the Councils responsibilities are matters
the Health and Safety Executive are considering.
Brenda Rowley sought advice from the CCA who assisted
her in drafting a letter requesting that there be
proper consideration of charges being brought against
senior Council employees, and questioning whether
the correct legal test was being applied.
The CPS reviewed its decision but in July 2000 gave
its third decision that a manslaughter prosecution
was still not appropriate.
Salford City Council subsequently pleaded guilty to
two health and safety offences and were fined a total
Brenda Rowley then sent the CPS new evidence which
had come to light in particular information
about a previous incident of a near drowning of a
resident in another care home (which had been contracted
by the Local Authority to provide care) prior to Malcolms
The CPS again reviewed its decision but for the fourth
time concluded that there was insufficient evidence
to prosecute the Council or any individual for manslaughter.
Brenda Rowley then contacted Tyndallwoods solicitors
who, after further correspondence with the CPS, issued
judicial review proceedings against the CPS concerning
its failure to prosecute the Council or a careworker
This case raises important issues as to whether the
CPS is applying the test of manslaughter correctly
in dealing with work-related deaths and what duty
is upon the CPS to ensure the police undertake a full
investigation into a company prior to it making a
decision whether or not to prosecute.
to CCA Press Releases
Notes to Editors
Centre for Corporate Accountability is an independent
nonprofit advice, research and lobbying group at
the forefront of seeking to ensure that health and
safety law is properly enforced and that deaths
and injuries resulting from corporate activities
are subject to adequate criminal investigations,
and, where appropriate, prosecution and effective
sanctions. It's charitable activities are funded
by Joseph Rowntrees Charitable Trust.
The Centre runs a Work Related Death Advice Service
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