The Law Reform Commission published a consultation paper on corporate killing in October last. The commission recommends that a new offence of corporate killing should be established which would be prosecuted on indictment, without exclusion of any entity, whether incorporated or not. The offence would apply to acts or omissions of a high managerial agent, which would be treated as those of the undertaking. This is much wider than in the context of workplace safety. The commission also recommends that the legislation should provide for an unlimited fine, in order to reflect the gravity of the offence or in certain circumstances an individual high managerial agent should also be subject to imprisonment of up to five years.
I welcome the recommendations of the commission. In order to give practical effect to these recommendations, I am taking the opportunity to provide for the creation of this new offence in law in the Bill on occupational health and safety now being prepared. This will have to be subject to the final views of the Law Reform Commission when its consultation process is complete and also subject to the advice of the Attorney General.
My Department is in consultation with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel at present and I hope it will be possible to include an appropriate provision in the new Bill, which I expect to be in a position to publish next April.