Disbelief as Balfour Beatty challenges safety fine

16 May 2006

Andy Reed, ASLEF’s National Organiser, said he was ‘almost speechless’ at the ‘outrage’ of Balfour Beatty seeking to challenge the fine imposed upon it as a result of the Hatfield disaster.

 

The company was in the High Court today arguing that the £10 million fine imposed on it after the Hatfield rail disaster was ‘excessive’.

 

‘Most astonishing of all was the company’s claim that the size of the fine had not taken into consideration the fact that it pleaded guilty at the original trial,’ Andy said. ‘These people want to be treated leniently because they admitted something that was painfully obvious to the rest of the county.

 

‘The only reason they pleaded guilty because they were guilty and they had no defence.

 

‘It is a mark of the company’s approach that the deaths and traumas it caused to rail workers and passengers are clearly secondary to financial considerations. Shame on them.’

 

The company"s failure to abide by safety rules was described by an Old Bailey judge last October as ‘one of the worst examples of sustained industrial negligence in a high risk industry I have ever seen’.

 

The outcome of the appeal is expected by the end of the week.

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