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Princes Sporting Club Limited Convicted of Corporate Manslaughter

Princes Sporting Club pleaded Guilty to section 1(1) of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.

Princes Sporting Club pleaded Guilty to section 1(1) of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007. 

Mari-Simon Cronje, an 11 year old girl died, when taking part in a water sports activity organised on 11 September 2010 on Back Lake, Bedfont, Middlesex. 

She had been at a friend’s birthday and had taken part in the banana boat activity in which an inflatable banana boat is towed by a speed boat.  Sadly, she was flung from the inflatable device and was struck by the speedboat causing severe leg injuries which lead to her death.

Southwark Crown Court heard that the driver of the speedboat had no UK recognised qualifications, despite over 5 years experience as a ski boat driver.  The Court was further informed that there had been no ‘spotter’ on the boat to notify the driver of when a passenger fell in and that a number of failings had contributed to the death including the speed of the boat, the ‘unnecessary’ turning at tight angles and the colour of the outfits worn by the children which made them difficult to spot when they entered the water.  It was also stated that there was an overall ‘lax’ attitude to Health and Safety.

The company was ordered to pay a total of £134,579.69, a £35,000 fine and £100,000 in costs which was said to have been donated by the owner William Bottriell.

The £35,000 fine comes significantly under the £500,000 guideline set out in the Sentencing Council’s Guidelines for Corporate Manslaughter Charges.

The Club’s Director, Mr Fredrick Glen Walker denied a charge under Section 37 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.  The charges were subsequently dropped against him at the point when the Company pleaded guilty.

Elizabeth Joslin of the Crown Prosecution Service stated

“Today’s guilty plea to Corporate Manslaughter is an acknowledgement that there were significant failings in the way water sports were organised at this club.

This was a gross breach of the duty of care owed to Marie-Simon which could have been avoided by having a competent adult in the towing boat acting as an observer and we are pleased this company has been held criminally accountable for this significant failing.”