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Sports club sentenced for corporate manslaughter

In a recent English case, a London sports club has pleaded guilty to section 1(1) of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, following the death of an 11-year-old girl who was taking part in a water sports activity in September 2010.

Mari-Simon Cronje was attending a birthday party at the club, reports the Telegraph. She was taking part in a banana boat ride when she fell from the inflatable and was hit by the boat that was towing it. She sustained severe leg injuries that proved to be fatal.

The court heard how there were a number of health and safety failings on the part of the club that led to Mari-Simon’s death. These included the absence of a “spotter” on the boat, the speed the boat was driven at and the colour of the children’s clothing, which made them difficult to see in the water. The company was ordered to pay a fine of £134,579.69.

Speaking after the case, Elizabeth Joslin of the Crown Prosecution Service Special Crime Division said:

"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 Mari-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.”

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