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Managers face court over Hatfield


BRITISH TRANSPORT Police has started to hand documentation to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), following its investigation into the Hatfield crash.

The move is expected to lead to the prosecution of middle management from both Railtrack and Balfour Beatty, the maintenance contractor responsible for the broken section of track.

Four people died last October when a train travelling between London and Leeds derailed on a broken rail. It was known that the rail was in a poor condition, and was due to be replaced later in the year.

The investigation, known as 'Operation Jasmine', also found that weekly track inspections were carried out from a track side foot way and Railtrack had agreed to this inspection method.

Possession time for a closer inspection was not available.

The CPS will decide what action to take once it receives all the documentation. However, it is thought manslaughter charges could first be brought against the managers involved, as under current law these charges must be brought against senior personnel before a company can be charged.

The government has pledged to reform this law, so that companies can be prosecuted without individuals having to be found guilty first. But the reform was left out of last week's Queen's speech and there was no mention of a Safety Bill despite pre-election promises.

New safety legislation will be brought forward following the Cullen Inquiry recommendations last week, but this will only cover railways and not construction in general.

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