Statement by the Simon Jones Memorial Campaign following the verdicts 29 November 2001
We would not be human if we were not disappointed by today’s not guilty verdicts. We had wished that James Martell and Euromin would have been found guilty of Simon’s manslaughter and they have not.
They have, however, been found guilty of serious crimes that show that their criminal negligence led directly to Simon’s death. Some people may say these are minor crimes. We would say that there is nothing minor about crimes that lead to the death of workers like Simon. In passing guilty verdicts on charges relating to Euromin’s duty of care towards its workers, the judge described Euromin’s and Mr Martell’s attitude to safety as “absolutely deplorable” and giving “wholly insufficient thought and attention” to safety. The law’s refusal to punish these serious crimes seriously is just one more indication of how little importance our law makers give to casual workers’ health, safety and right to life.
We would like to restate what this campaign has been all about – ensuring that the circumstances surrounding Simon’s death were put in front of a jury and that the truth about casualisation was exposed. We have achieved this.
We are, however, painfully aware that in 21st century Britain the fight for the most basic of workers’ rights – the right not to be killed or injured at work – is still being fought. The Crown Prosecution Service have put obstacles and obstructions in the path of this prosecution at every turn. The Health and Safety Executive have consistently shown themselves to be either unwilling or unable to take the necessary action against employers to ensure the safety of workers.
Without direct action James Martell and Euromin would never have faced prosecution in the High Court for Simon’s death. This prosecution only took place because Simon’s family and friends broke the law to ensure that it was. As long as this government and its agencies refuse to take action against companies that profit from casualisation at the expense of their workers’ lives we will continue, where necessary, to break the law so that justice will prevail.