No5’s Thorogood completes prosecution of Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

On 28 April 2014, Bernard Thorogood from No5 Chambers completed the prosecution of Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust at Stafford Crown Court. Mr Justice Haddon-Cave imposed a fine of £200,000 in relation to the events that led to the ‘wholly avoidable and tragic death’ of Gillian Astbury.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said that had the trust been a profitable commercial organisation the fine would have been £1m. In the circumstances, he gave a greater-than-usual credit by reducing the fine from £400,000 to £200,000. The 50 per cent reduction was used rather than the usual maximum, due to the trust’s very early admission of culpability and high level of co-operation in the investigation.

The court relied upon the recent cases of R v Sellafield and R v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd [2014] EWCA Crim 49 and the judge found a high level of culpability, with systematic failures. This case was the only prosecution following the Francis Inquiry into the failings at the trust and the judge sent out a strong message to all organisations responsible for the care and welfare of members of the public.