Sixty-foot fall from flat window results in gross negligence charges

by Direct 2 Lawyers on August 5, 2013

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The Criminal Prosecution Service has confirmed that a man will face charges of gross negligence after a toddler fell to her death in June 2012.

Ryaheen Banimuslem, who was just two years old at the time of the accident, was playing with her brother on the third floor of her block of flats when she fell through a hold in the glass panels on the balcony. She plunged sixty feet and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mr Banimuslem, Ryaheen’s father, stated at the time that management had failed in their duty to make the building safe. Residents at the complex said that the communal area was a constant target for youths who regularly attempted to damage the balcony’s glass panes. Mr Banimuslem stated: “There were missing glass panels from time to time and no one came to repair them. Unfortunately my wife didn’t see this one” and a neighbour of the family commented: “It’s now been boarded up, but why wasn’t it boarded up when it was first broken? This little girl’s death might not have happened and her poor mother would not be living with the terrible tragedy she has to deal with today”.

Since those statements the police have conducted an investigation and the Criminal Prosecution Service has determined that Robert Warner, who was contracted to carry out maintenance work on the apartments, should be charged with gross negligence manslaughter.

Criminal defence solicitors may now be instructed by Mr Warner to deal with his matter – although he has the right to refuse representation.

Gross negligence manslaughter occurs where a death is a result of a grossly negligent (though otherwise lawful) act or omission on the part of the person charged with the offence. A four-stage test is used to determine whether the defendant has been grossly negligent:

  1. A duty of care should exist towards the deceased
  2. There must be a breach of the duty of care which
  3. Causes (or significantly contributes to) the death of the victim; and
  4. The breach should be characterised as gross negligence (and not simply negligence), and therefore a crime

It is for a jury to decide whether the defendant’s conduct was so bad, in all the circumstances, to amount to a criminal act or omission – the generally agreed test for whether an act or omission should be considered such is whether the act or omission in itself is “reprehensible”.

Direct 2 Lawyers offer advice on defending criminal charges as well as  employment law advice from employment law solicitors

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