Manslaughter conviction following diving incident
In 2016, Gareth Pugh, who was employed by Boss Golf Balls to retrieve submerged golf balls from lakes on golf courses, dived into a lake at Peterstone Lakes Golf Course near Newport, United Kingdom. Founder of Boss Golf Balls, Dale Pike was supervising Pugh. Pike noticed a compressor floating to the edge of the lake. Pugh had lost his breathing equipment.
Pike contacted emergency services, but Pugh’s body was only retrieved after 70 minutes. Pugh could not be resuscitated. On July 12, Pike was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 32 months in prison. According to the court, Pike should have employed trained divers to carry out the work
Dave Trew, who led the investigation, said: “The activity which the defendant engaged in was regulated as a ‘commercial activity’ by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) rules and guidance. The rules and guidance, which were known to the defendant, were breached and led to the death of Gareth Pugh. These breaches amounted to behaviour which was grossly negligent.”
A spokesperson from the HSE said: “While this was a police investigation and a local authority prosecution, HSE provided the support of diving specialists. This case is a potentially significant outcome within the diving industry.”
“Businesses and employers must take their health and safety responsibilities very seriously, otherwise such tragic incidents can occur,” concluded councillor Ray Truman, a Newport City Council cabinet member for licensing and regulation.