- Health and safety duties on construction sites—who’s in charge? (Ahmad v Health and Safety Executive)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Corporate Crime analysis: The court were asked to consider two grounds of appeal relating to fresh evidence and the necessity of a jury direction in respect of an alleged bribe to keep a witness away from court. In considering those questions the court also dealt with obligations arising out of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The appellant argued that fresh evidence undermined the credibility of an important witness for the prosecution and enhanced his own credibility. In considering the impact of fresh evidence the court were required to evaluate its importance in the context of the remainder of the evidence. It was held that there was a wealth of evidence that the appellant was in control of the construction site and was responsible for giving orders to people carrying out the work. The fresh evidence did not undermine the safety of the conviction. It was argued that the absence of a direction on evidence of a bribe in a case which turned on the credibility of those involved rendered the conviction unsafe. The judge had reminded the jury of what was said in respect of the alleged bribe. There was no need for him to go further; he was not obliged to give a direction about how the jury should treat the bribery evidence if they believed it. Written by Rosalind Emsley-Smith, Barrister at Deans Court Chambers who represented the Health and Safety Executive in this case.
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