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Heathrow collapse appeal starts

AUSTRIAN TUNNELLING consultant Geoconsult has started its appeal against the conviction and £500,000 fine it received in February for its part in the 1994 Heathrow Express tunnel collapse.

Defence solicitor Arthur Marriott told the three appeal court judges that the consultant was appealing because the integrity of the original trial had been compromised.

He argued that the Health & Safety Executive's prosecution had been based on an expert witness report which had to be abandoned. He argued that the whole of the trial and Geoconsult's defence had been planned around the contents of the report.

The expert witness report by WS Atkins director of tunnelling Guy Lance was abandoned by prosecution barrister Hugh Carlisle QC after defence claims that it had not been independently prepared (NCE 18 February). The trial continues.

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