Prosecution of Geotechnical Holdings and director Peter Eaton delayed because of defendant's ill health

The UK's first corporate manslaughter trial to be held under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 has been adjourned until October, Building has learned.

Cotswold-based Geotechnical Holdings and its director Peter Eaton face charges of gross negligence manslaughter, following the death of a young geologist last September.

The trial was due to begin in Bristol Crown Court on 23 February, but it was pushed back until 26 February due to the defendant's ill health.

Now it has emerged that the case will not be heard until around October, with a pre-trial review scheduled for July to assess the medical condition of Eaton.

The defendants will be the first to be tried under the Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007. They are accused of breaching section one of the act.

The new charges were brought against the firm as the “way in which the organisation's activities were managed or organised caused the death of a person”.

The company faces an unlimited fine, while Eaton is charged with gross negligence manslaughter under common law, and faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.