Not guilty plea from Jackson
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by David Harris • Jackson Transport (Ossett) pleaded not guilty this week to the first charge of corporate manslaughter to be brought against a haulier.
The case follows the death of James Hodgson, 21, who was overcome by a toxic chemical in May 1994 while cleaning a tanker for the firm.
Both the company and its managing director at the time, Alan Jackson, are accused of manslaughter, as well as charges of breaches of their duty to ensure employees' safety.
Both also face similar breach of duty charges relating to an earlier safety scare in February 1994 when three employees, including Hodgson, needed hospital treatment. In all cases not guilty pleas were entered; the trial at Bradford Crown Court is expected to last two-and-ahalf weeks.
Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, argued that if the prosecution could prove the case against Alan Jackson it would result in proof against Jackson Transport "because he was the controlling mind of the company".
The court heard that Hodgson worked in the washbay of Jackson Transport, where his job included cleaning the company's 13 tankers. Smith said the prosecution would contend he was not properly trained and was not wearing the proper safety equipment at the time of the tragedy.
He added that immediately after the accident, in which Hodgson's face was covered with a "grey substance". He was declared dead on arrival at hospital.
The trial continues.