The Court of Appeal held that "the true nature of the sentencing exercise … was to assess the degree of culpability and criminality on the part of the appellant by reference to the offence charged". The court reduced the £100,000 fine to £60,000, and further reduced it to £55,000 to reflect the level of the costs award against the appellant.
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The judge had approached the issue of setting the fine by analogy with allocating liability in civil proceedings. He decided on an appropriate level of fine overall, and allocated it between the appellant and its co-defendant roughly 90% to 10%. The Court of Appeal took the view that the failure to ensure safety on site in this case "was to a significant extent due to a lack of liaison between all those involved". Hence in sentencing, the judge should have taken account of "the totality of the failings of all those – corporations and individuals – involved and not simply the appellant itself". The message from the court seems to be that if a party falls foul of the health and safety legislation and serious consequences ensue such as the death of a worker, then the court must NOT consider the seriousness of those consequences, come up with a fine commensurate with them, and apportion this fine between whatever defendants happen to be prosecuted over the matter. A guilty party is to be punished for the extent of its own criminality, taking into account such mitigating factors as exist (following the guidelines set out in the case of F Howe & Son (Engineers) Limited  2 All ER 249), and each case must be decided by reference to its own circumstances.