Jury discharged in Bosley Mill explosion trial

The jurors in the trial of the Bosley Mill owner charged with the manslaughter of four workers who died in an explosion have been discharged.

A spokesman from Chester crown court said there has been “personal issues” concerning the judge of the case, which began last week, and a new judge and jury will be sworn in from 8 February.

The trial was being held at Nightingale court at Chester Town Hall, before the jury was discharged on January 29 (picture: Shutterstock)

George Boden, 64, of Church Road, Stockport, is charged with four counts of gross negligence manslaughter and a health and safety offence following the explosion at the Wood Treatment Ltd mill in Bosley in July 2015.

His trial began at the Nightingale court at Chester Town Hall last week, but the jury was discharged on Friday.

The trial is expected to last 12 weeks when it is restarted.

Corporate manslaughter

Mr Boden was standing trial alongside the firm, Wood Treatment Limited, which denies four counts of corporate manslaughter, as well as operations manager Philip Smith, 58, of Raglan Road, Macclesfield, and mill manager Peter Shingler, 56, of Tunstall Road, Bosley, who both deny a health and safety offence.

Wood Treatment Limited is also charged with a Health and Safety Breach. The company has pleaded guilty to that charge and accepts that it failed to discharge that duty but denies that it did so in such a way as to cause the deaths and injuries of its employees.

A new trial is expected to start on Monday, the court spokesman said.

Cleaner Dorothy Bailey, 62, maintenance fitter Derek William Barks (known as Will), 51, mill worker Derek Moore, 62, and chargehand Jason Shingler, 38, died in the explosion (see letsrecycle.com story).

Opening

Last week, the court heard the prosecution’s case when opening the case (see letsrecycle.com story).

Prosecutor Tony Badenoch QC said: “In short summary, a large explosion caused substantial damage to the mill and the deaths of the four persons named. The only credible cause for which is that there had been a massive explosion of wood dust – a highly flammable and explosable material.

“The most likely scenario is … an explosion in previously settled dust leading to a much larger secondary explosion. Whichever of those credible scenarios it is, the prosecution case is that each arose from negligence on the part of the company and the Health and Safety Director (George Boden).”

[Report via Cheshire Live]

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