Newry businessman facing trial over death of employee crushed by caravan

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A Co Down businessman has been ordered to stand trial for the manslaughter of one of his employees at a caravan park almost three years ago.

Alan Milne, 54, from Armagh Road, Newry, appeared at Newry Magistrates’ Court both as an individual and as the representative of two co-accused companies.

He is accused of killing Thomas Houston who was crushed when a static caravan fell on him at Silvercove Caravan Park near Kilkeel in February 2012.

His company DIECI Ltd, which supplies agricultural machinery, is accused of corporate manslaughter through a “gross breach” of its duty of care and a failure to carry out an appropriate risk assessment.

A second company, Nicole Enterprises Ltd, is also accused of causing Mr Houston’s death by a gross breach of its duty of care.

The charges arise after Mr Houston, a married grandfather and father of three who was in his 50s, was crushed to death when a caravan he was working on fell on top of him at the caravan park on the Leestone Road in Kilkeel.

Although no facts of the case were opened, a prosecuting lawyer submitted that on the basis of the legal papers there is a prima facie case against the three defendants.

As defence QC Gregory Berry had no contrary submissions, Deputy District Judge Jonathan Connolly said he was satisfied there was enough evidence before the court to move the cases to the Crown Court for trial.

Releasing Milne on his own bail of £500, the judge ordered him to appear at Newry Crown Court next month for arraignment.