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Won’t there be shrieking about this?

The Government has announced it will not start criminal proceedings against P&O Ferries over the company’s decision to fire nearly 800 seafarers in March and then replace them with cheaper staff.

The Insolvency Service said on Friday that “there was no realistic prospect of a conviction” after a review by an independent senior prosecution lawyer, as it is standard practice.

A spokesman said: “After a full and robust criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the employees who were made redundant by P&O Ferries, we have concluded that we will not commence criminal proceedings.”

The Insolvency Service is still conducting a separate civil investigation.

As they don’t seem to have found any criminal acts therefore there will be no criminal prosecutions. Or, equally, as they’ve not broken the law there’s no law breaking to prosecute. Bit tough for Labour with a former DPP at their head. How can they now turn around and demand prosecution?

12 thoughts on “Won’t there be shrieking about this?”

  1. I was just reading this article and was quite puzzled. As usual these days, the Terriblegraph fails to fill in any necessary gaps. I assume therefore that no criminal act was committed because the staff were employed offshore ?

  2. I think there was a law broken. Someone about having to have negotiations with unions. But the CPS have higher priorities, the company would get a miniscule fine art best.

  3. BoM4

    But as we well know by now ” the process is the punishment.”

    Why don’t the CPS just prosecute for the hell of it ?

  4. I think there was a law broken. Someone about having to have negotiations with unions.

    I agree. That was my understanding of this. They have supposedly engaged some top legal specialist who’s advice is that they are unlikely to gain a prosecution on those grounds.

    Quite why is beyond me, I think the pointy heads in Parliament should force publication of the legal advice (since, no doubt The Insolvency Service would refuse an FOI request).

    Sick and tired of supposedly “responsible officers” of companies getting off scot free over clearly financially beneficial law breaking just because of the weakness of our lily livered regulators.

    DO YOUR DAMN JOB!

  5. They probably did find criminality in the decision to sack all the workers. But criminal cases require a high level of proof and they probably couldn’t find enough evidence. Which is why they are continuing with the civil case which needs a lower level of proof.

  6. I suspect that P&O had an arguable Force Majeure defence. By the time we had gone through the consultation process, we would have been insolvent (due to circumstances not reasonably foreseeable*). That outcome would have been the same for the employees. What we did was the only way to save the company as a going concern.

    *CPS didn’t fancy their chances of proving otherwise beyond reasonable doubt.

  7. @decnine – Fair enough, but then why didn’t they just go straight to the insolvency process rather than ignore the unions, violate the law and create a PR disaster?

  8. John Galt,

    The “negotiations” would have been a fait acompli. “We want to do this” “no deal” would say the unions. “Ok we’ve now followed the law”.

    No one has ever argued they could have reached an accommodation. It’s a farcical law.

  9. Or, equally, as they’ve not broken the law there’s no law breaking to prosecute. Bit tough for Labour with a former DPP at their head. How can they now turn around and demand prosecution?

    We can let you have Liz Cheney, she has some experience in this. I hear she will be available in January.

  10. @John Galt

    “@decnine – Fair enough, but then why didn’t they just go straight to the insolvency process rather than ignore the unions, violate the law and create a PR disaster?”

    That course of action would have taken control out of the hands of the Directors…

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