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Groundbreaking corporate manslaughter trial opens

A jury will hear details today of how a geologist died in the first prosecution of a business for corporate manslaughter under new legislation.

No one will be in the dock at Winchester Crown Court but the company, Cotswold Geotechnical (Holdings) Ltd, denies it unlawfully killed Alexander Wright in 2008.

Wright, 27, from Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, was killed at a development site in Brimscombe Lane, near Stroud, when the trench he was working in, taking soil samples, collapsed.

Rescue workers took two days to recover his body from under several tonnes of mud and a post-mortem examination showed he died from traumatic asphyxia.

The prosecution is taking place under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007) that came into force in April 2008.

The penalty under the legislation is an unlimited fine, if found guilty.

Jurors for the three-week trial are set to be sworn in and then the prosecution is expected to open its case.

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