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CPS faces court over youth death

THE DEATH of a 17-year-old labourer has landed the Crown Prosecution Service in court over its decision not to bring manslaughter charges.

An inquest into Daniel Dennis's death reached a verdict of unlawful killing but the CPS decided there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges.

Now the High Court has granted the Dennis family, from Bridgend in South Wales, the right to a judicial review.

Mr Dennis died in April 2003 during his first week working for North Eastern Roofing, a local one-man firm run by Roy Clark.

North Eastern Roofing was subcontracted to Midas to carry out recladding to the exterior of a B&Q store in Cwmbran near Newport, where Mr Dennis fell to his death through a skylight.

As North Eastern Roofing was an unlimited company, corporate manslaughter charges could not be brought. The Dennis family is now calling for charges to be brought against him as an individual.

Mr Clark is currently facing health and safety charges but these are suspended pending the outcome of the judicial review. He claimed Mr Dennis was self-employed and not directly employed by the firm.

General union GMB has backed the Dennis family in its fight for a judicial review.

Mick Antoniw, a partner at the family's solicitors, Thompsons, said:

'The CPS didn't have a representative at the inquest, then they said they lost or destroyed the case file.

'How can you decide there is not enough evidence if you don't have the file? On top of that, they took three months to realise they could not charge North East Roofing with corporate manslaughter as the company was unlimited.

'We want the CPS to go away and properly consider the matter and take future cases like this seriously and investigate them properly.'

The High Court hearing is expected to start in November. The CPS declined to comment.