Prosecution collapsed completely.
Since October 2009, waste management company, Red Industries Ltd has endured not only a misconceived but also a thoroughly aggressive prosecution by the Environment Agency over allegations of water pollution and not acting in accordance to the conditions of its site licence. Whilst respecting the right and duty of the Environment Agency to investigate the pollution incident and therefore co-operating at all times with the Environment Agency, Red strove to make the point which was always apparent from the facts: the Environment Agency was looking at the wrong person.
Unfortunately the Environment Agency simply would not listen. The Environment Agency failed to keep an open mind and because it had misdirected itself so early in its investigation, the Environment Agency was never able to reflect on its fundamental errors until forced to do so in court. Red was forced to defend, which it duly did resolutely, despite all the aggression thrown at it. Red’s stance was vindicated on Wednesday 14th May 2014 when, mid-trial, the Environment Agency was forced to abandon its’ case on the charge of water pollution against the Company. The jury did not hesitate to return a NOT GUILTY verdict. In the following few days there was no let-up in the shame heaped on the Environment Agency in Court. On 22nd May 2014 the Environment Agency was forced to drop its entire case against Red Industries.
The Environment Agency has needlessly wasted £Millions in public money on a poorly conceived case, filled with errors and discrepancies that resulted in one problem after another. The Environment Agency forced an innocent company to defend itself for almost 5 years. The case was always going to end in tears and it did. After only 5 weeks of a trial scheduled to last for 8 weeks, the Environment Agency was forced to abandon its entire case against Red Industries. This simply proved what a shambles the investigation and prosecution was. The worst part was that Red was forced to live through it.
The Environment Agency’s entire investigation and prosecution, which took almost 5 years to come to a conclusion, was described by the court as “shambolic”. It was marred by inaccuracies and Environment Agency incompetence. For a regulatory body to be guilty of wasting public monies like this on an investigation which was so flawed and so badly carried out is completely unacceptable; especially when it leads to the loss of livelihoods.
Red is very concerned that this sort of misconceived and wasteful prosecution by the Environment Agency should not happen to other innocent companies. This is particularly so as recent changes to the costs rules for criminal cases mean that companies wrongly prosecuted have very little hope of recovering the costs of defending themselves. Also due to recent Environment Agency lobbying, defendants now face much higher sentences for environment offences. For an innocent small company that does not have the funds to defend itself, this represents a double whammy.
Commenting just after the conclusion of the case Mr Share, Chief Executive of Red Industries, stated that he was “delighted” with the outcome but disappointed with the manner in which the Environment Agency had conducted itself; he said “The judge and jury saw through the case immediately. They could see that there was no culpability and that the case should never have been brought”. He added that his biggest regret was the loss of a number of valued members of staff, something which came about due to the unavoidable impact of such serious allegations.
He concluded that the collapse of the case affirms the Company’s position, maintained from the very beginning, that the charges against the Company were brought due to a critically flawed Environment Agency Investigation. Red Industries maintains that despite the thoroughly aggressive nature of the Environment Agency in this case, the commitment and determination of its’ team was the reason why it was able to overcome the detrimental impact of such serious and misdirected allegations. With the case now over, the company is looking forward to moving on with its reputation intact.
Speaking on behalf of the company, Mr Share stated that:
“This verdict marks a turning point for Red Industries; I am now more committed than ever to taking the Company forward and truly moving on from the aspersions that have been cast on our operations.
I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to everyone who has stood by Red Industries throughout this experience, the support and commitment from customers, suppliers and our fantastic employees alike has been greatly appreciated”