Profile


Charles is an experienced common law advocate, employment, criminal,
administrative, and appeal court practitioner, specialising in associated areas
of civil work, regulatory crime, and inquests. He appears regularly in
employment tribunals in a range of cases.

He has been in full time private practice at the Bar continuously since
1974. His practice can be described as common law, but with emphasis on
regulatory breaches with the consequential criminal liability. He is also an
approved counsel on the Attorney-General’s list, grade A, and regularly instructed
by a number of government departments, including HM Revenue and Customs, the
Health and Safety Executive, Department of Work and Pensions, together with the
Crown Prosecution Service. He conducts related work in the civil courts,
inquests, and disciplinary hearings (police, and financial regulation).

Charles is happy to advise at an early stage of a dispute to promote
resolution and/or assist in case preparation. He is particularly interested in
the psychological effect of litigation on vulnerable witnesses and the way a
shift of emphasis in the presentation of the evidence may affect the outcome.
Charles is an accredited mediator.

Expertise

REGULATORY AND
DISCIPLINARY

Charles is described in
Chambers 2011, Leaders at the Bar, within the Health and Safety Law entry as,
having a "willingness to roll up his sleeves and forge ahead with
cases", Chambers 2010 states, "highly recommended for cases involving
technical issues and is especially renowned for his esoteric understanding of
complex scientific matters”. According to solicitors, "he really gets stuck
into each case that he deals with, and will rally a team of lawyers and clients
well’. Chambers names him as one of nine leading juniors in this field outside
London.



·        

R v
Nelson Group Services (Maintenance) Ltd, (Guildford Crown Court)
involving the change of  gas meter from town to natural gas, as part of
the London metropolitan conversion, in the lodge of Royal Holloway College,
London, near Staines. Weeks later the loft space filled with an explosive mixture
of gas and air with disabled students in residence. Acting for the defence of
the company it was shown that no criminal liability attached to the company’s
activities. (HSWA section 3)



·        

Health
and Safety Executive (Explosives Directorate) v Paines Wessex (Chemring Group)
(Salisbury Crown Court) using metal to repair an explosives curing tray thereby
causing an explosion, (contrary to the Explosives Act and HSWA sections 2and
3).



·        

Health
and Safety Executive (Explosives Directorate) v Bracknell Fireworks Ltd storage of highly
unstable explosive material in unsuitable facilities.



·        

Health and Safety Executive v Nelsons Group Services (Maintenance) Ltd
1998, 4 AER 331, Court of Appeal, resulting
from 6 indictments in various crown courts. The company was in business changing
and fitting retail gas appliances; there were 6 indictments, 26 counts, from 6
complaints of unsatisfactory work. The company used a novel form of employee
check sheet drafted and introduced after the Royal Holloway case. The defence
won three cases in the Crown Courts, and three were appealed, with only one
conviction on one count upheld by the Court of Appeal. The case restated the
law on the responsibility of an employer when the fault is that of the employee
and the concomitant application of ‘reasonable practicability’, an essential
element in H&S liability, and that such a test was a matter for the jury.
(H&S section 3 and Gas Safety Regulations)



·        

Health
and Safety Executive (Explosives Directorate) v Men Shun Fireworks Ltd (Leeds Crown Court) importation
and unlawful storage of 100 tons of fireworks in an unsuitable facility. This
case also involved the study of some inexplicable company balance sheets, and
directors liability (HSWA section 37)



·        

Regina
(Health and Safety Executive) v xxxxxxxx (Old Bailey) concerned the
liability of a company for an employee who fell from a ladder was a result of a
fit when illness had not been disclosed to the employer. The tests of
reasonable practicability and foreseeability were considered. Issues
surrounding a company in liquidation (H&S section 3 and Work at Height
Regulations)



·        

Health
and Safety Executive v Barrett Homes plc concerned failures on a substantial building
site involving inappropriate management and disposal of asbestos. Substantial
expert evidence on the risks associated with the various types of asbestos. (
Construction and Use Regulations and Control of Asbestos Regulations)



·        

Regina
(HSE) v British Telecommunications plc and Scottish and Southern Electricity plc, (Bristol Crown Court) concerned the fatal
fall of a BT engineer from a BT pole which had common aerial cables supported
by a SSE pole. Through poor maintenance poles had moved in such a way that the
aerial cables were low enough to be snagged by a passing lorry, breaking the
pole and dragging the engineer to the ground. Complex legal argument on issues
of reasonable practicability and the foreseeability of accident, and whether
the companies’ safety procedures were adequate. (HSWA sections 2 and 3, H&S
Management Regulations)



·        

Regina
(HSE) v Harry Martin; and Hudd v Martin [civil claim] concerned
the demolition of two houses in Swindon in a gas explosion; it was said that
Martin, a gas fitter, had done his work negligently resulting in the explosion.
Persistent enquiries revealed other sources of gas leaks and explanations for
the explosion. The result was acquittal the issues of work causing the
explosion. (HSWA s 3, Gas Safety Regulations)



·        

Regina
v Reliance Scrap Metal Ltd, Matthews, Anderson and Matthews (Winchester Crown
Court) leading for the prosecution, these defendants were prosecuted for gross
negligence manslaughter by a company and directors, and perverting the course
of justice.

The defendants ran a scrap yard would cut up gas cylinders in a 900 ton
compactor shear machine normally used for cars. Amongst the cylinders was an
acetylene gas cylinder which exploded fatally burning an employee. The
compactor, although designed to be controlled from a cab, was operated manually
with makeshift remote control, with the operators standing in the crushing
hopper. After the accident evidence of the operation was destroyed and
witnesses were warned off. (Common law manslaughter, H&S sections 2 and 3
HSWA 1974 directors liability s 37)



·        

Regina
(HSE) v Pearlview Estates Ltd, Faulkner Gates Ltd and Electric Gate Services
Ltd [2009] EWCA Crim 1942 Court of Appeal, resulted from a nine year
old child fatally crushed by the operation of an electrically powered entrance
gate. The boy had reached through the heel of gate to press the operating
button on the hanging post, as the gate opened the gap contracted trapping the
boy and crushing him. The prosecution appealed the trial judge’s terminating
rulings (CJA 2003 section 58-61, HSWA ss 2 and 3, Construction and Use
Regulations, Machinery Regulations)



·        

HSE
v Merlin Homes Ltd concerned scaffold erectors working on building site near an
unstable hillside, and breaches of enforcement notice. (HSWA s2)



·        

HSE
v Enfield concerned a plumber,
who was involved in the fitting of a defective boiler flue with associated
carbon monoxide risks (HSWA s 3 and Gas Safety Regulations )

Advising
Electricity North West on the infra-structure of their overhead supply line. In much of
the northwest of England electricity poles carry street lighting, for local
authorities which have an obligation to provide lighting; erecting separate
poles for lighting is unsightly and expensive. Advising on a managerial system,
of risk assessments and joint user protocols to permit continued use within the
framework of H&S law.

TRANSPORT LAW

He has been conducting road traffic and associated cases for many years.
He started practice dealing with comparatively minor road traffic offences,
instructed by the AA and the London Taxi Drivers Association; latterly handling
the most serious multiple fatal injury cases, including inquests. He has wide
experience of regulatory tribunals in various forms.

He is regularly instructed to defend and mitigate the effect of
disqualifications, drink and drug related driving offences, even custody, as
well as less serious driving transgressions. He has represented persons who
have challenged the legality and effect of drink driving law, with associated
appeals.

He is familiar with vehicle accident reports, accident reconstruction
reports, tachograph analysis, blood alcohol analyses and the strengths and
weaknesses of such expertise.

By representing persons involved in fatalities, together with first hand
experience, he used to the effects of shock, both acute and post traumatic, on
those involved in such an experience and the effect these conditions may have
upon them.

Other aspects of his wider practice provide expertise on the impact of
contractual and employment disputes, waste regulation, and safety provisions as
they impact on transport issues.

 

EMPLOYMENT AND
DISCRIMINATION

Recent
cases include:



·        

Manager redundancy/constructive dismissal, [Weir Group]



·        

Mother with children in a tied cottage, dismissed for sickness/sex
discrimination



·        

Cashier malpractice at the till, [Waitrose]



·        

Employee made redundant and taking ideas and contact lists to new
employer/ breach of confidentiality clause. Discrimination of an applicant
under the Equality Act, who had previously made a sex discrimination claim,
when applying for the post of a university lecturer.

MEDIATION AND ADR

An experienced criminal and administrative court practitioner and
accredited mediator, specializing in regulatory, crime and associated areas of
work.

Regularly asked to conduct regulatory criminal work; health and safety
at work, environmental, countryside and animal litigation (pedigree livestock,
horses and welfare). He also conducts related work in the employment tribunal
and civil courts.

More information

QUALIFICATIONS:



·        

1971; LLB (Hons), Kings College, London

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS:

Member of the Western Circuit, Criminal Bar Association, Health and
Safety Lawyers Association, Accredited Mediator of the Association of
Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES:



·        

Charles regularly speaks on topics at professional training seminars and
in house training for industry, including Foster Wheeler. Recently the topics
have included the Corporate Manslaughter Act, the Health and Safety at Work
Act, and the Bribery Act.



·        

He advises the management of two small businesses in farming and public
relations, which gives a good perspective of the day to day problems of running
small commercial enterprises.



·        

Issues that he has addressed recently include; employment contracts, LLP
formation, share option agreements, intellectual property, terms and conditions
of service, regulatory enforcement, share swaps, employment of foreign
nationals and simple breach of contract.

OUTSIDE INTERESTS:



·        

Charles enjoys family life with his three children. He also has
interests in English history, agriculture, conservation in the countryside,
riding, rowing, running, and oak framed buildings.

NOTABLE CASES:



·        

R v Shepherd (MB) 86 Cr App R 1987 [Duress, beyond cases of violence]



·        

R v Firetto 1991 Crim L R [Perverting the Course of Justice]



·        

R v Lemmon 12 CR App S 1991 Crim L R [Drug trafficking Confiscation
Order]



·        

Health and Safety Executive v Nelsons Group Services (Maintenance) Ltd
1998, 4 AER 331, Court of Appeal [Employer’s liability for the purposes of
reasonable practicability when the fault is that of the employee]



·        

Regina v Crown Court at Swindon, ex parte Crown Prosecution Service
(Squire joined) DC [2000] [Review of legality of crown court judge’s sentence]



·        

The Verderers of the New Forest v Barnes and others, Administrative
Court, December 2003 [Magistrates’ jurisdiction over the New Forest] and again
December 2004 [Time for issuing a summons, consideration of a ‘continuing’
offence]



·        

Health and Safety Executive v Electric Gate Services Ltd [2009] EWCA
Crim 1942 [The first application of R v Chargot [HL] in the Court of Appeal,
addresses the ingredients needed for the prosecution case and ‘material risk’]

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