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29 Jan 2016

Nick Barnard comments on the first prosecution of an NHS trust for corporate manslaughter in The Times

An anaesthetist who made a series of basic errors before a mother died of complications following a caesarean section should be extradited from Pakistan, a patients’ rights group said yesterday.

The call came as the NHS trust involved and another anaesthetist were cleared in a landmark case in which the Crown Prosecution Service was strongly criticised by the judge.

Nick Barnard, a lawyer with the firm Corker Binning said: “Given Mr Justice Coulson QC’s comments in halting the trial, it is extremely difficult to see how the prosecutions were justified. The halting of this trial before the jury retired will be a difficult blow for the CPS, who had been on a relatively good run of form for both corporate and medical gross negligence manslaughter.”

However, he added: “The standard of negligence required to establish corporate and gross negligence manslaughter was exceptionally high and so for the judge to conclude that there was little or no evidence that Dr Cornish had done anything wrong is astonishing.”

On the prosecution of the trust, he said that it seemed strange that it “focused on the lack of one particular qualification, when there was evidence that both anaesthetists were qualified and experienced by other means.”

Read the full article in The Times here.