Court bill decided in worker death case

Justin Gillman
Justin Gillman

A construction firm and its site manager have been ordered to pay £77,500 court costs each after a bricklayer died in a fall from scaffolding.

Chestnut Homes Ltd and site manager Peter Tute were sentenced in September after admitting breaching health and safety legislation.

The company was fined £40,000 and 49 year old Tute of Woodvale Close, Lincoln, was given 240 hours unpaid work.

Judge Michael Heath originally adjourned a decision on costs but , sitting at Lincoln Crown Court on Wednesday, he has now ruled that the £155,000 costs of the prosecution should be shared equally by the company and Tute.

The judge gave each of them 28 days to pay.

The prosecution followed an incident in which 26 year old Justin Gillman was crushed to death after he walked backwards off the six foot high scaffolding platform with his 175 kilo load of bricks.

Mr Gillman, from Holland Fen , died on 26 February 2010 while working on a construction site at The Chase in Skegness.

Chestnut Homes Ltd denied being a significant cause of Mr Gillman’s death but pleaded guilty to exposing workers to a risk following a Health and Safety Executive investigation. Tute admitted failing to discharge a duty of an employee at work to other persons.

At the original hearing Timothy Green, prosecuting for the HSE, said Tute asked Mr Gillman and his work mate Philip Hampstead to build the scaffolding platform when he should have brought in the company’s scaffolding contractors.

Mr Green told the court Mr Tute failed to give the two men any instructions or ask if they had any experience building scaffolding.

“He relied on them to do their best,” Mr Green said. “They did their best but it wasn’t good enough as the death of Mr Gillman demonstrated.”

Mr Green added: “It was literally an accident waiting to happen.”

“We do not know exactly the physical cause of him going over the edge. He may simply have forgotten he had gone near the edge of his platform.

“If a guard rail had been present then he would not have gone off the edge, but it wasn’t. He fell off and was crushed to death with the bricks landing on him.”