Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Expert says a Royal Highland Show child's death could have 'not reasonably been foreseen'

Ben Craggs Image copyright Lothian and Borders Police
Image caption Ben Craggs suffered head injuries after being struck by a bollard when it overturned

A health and safety expert has told a jury The Royal Highland Show could not reasonably have foreseen the accident which caused the death of a boy.

Three-year-old Ben Craggs died after a concrete bollard toppled onto him at the Ingliston showground in June 2008.

Roderick Evans told Edinburgh Sheriff Court the bollards were checked three days earlier.

The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland denies eight charges under health and safety laws.

Inherited bollards

Ben was at the show on 19 June 2008, with his parents, Jonathan and Dawn Craggs, from Sedgefield, County Durham, when he fell and grabbed a rope connecting two of the bollards, one of which overturned, striking him on the head.

He died in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children from his injuries.

The society, Mr Evans said, had inherited the bollards from a company, Spook Erections, which had run Sunday markets at the showground until 2005.

The society had appointed Royal Bank of Scotland Mentore Services as health and safety consultants, and SEP Ltd to control the car parks at the showground.

Mr Evans said: "In my opinion while the ultimate health and safety responsibility remained with the society, it was entitled to rely on SEP to raise any health and safety concerns about car parking, including the use of the bollards".

"In my opinion the bollards, used in conjunction with the rope, did not expose the public to a reasonably foreseeable risk of injury."

Mr Evans added: "In my opinion the society took all reasonable measures to reduce risks to persons using the north car park."

Rope tension

He said that prior to the accident the bollards may have been moved to facilitate the parking of a horse box trailer.

"Bollards 11 and 12 were most probably moved and the tension of the rope was altered and made tighter. This must have had a detrimental effect," he said.

"It made it less stable if someone pulled on the rope. This could not have been reasonably foreseen."

It is alleged the society failed to ensure moveable concrete bollards at the showground were stabilised by clamping and, as a consequence, Ben fell and seized hold of a rope connecting two of the bollards causing one to overturn and strike him on the head

Other charges allege:

• the society failed to take action about defects in health and safety arrangements which were drawn to its attention by health and safety consultants.

•that it employed a person as a health and safety co-ordinator who did not have sufficient competence or qualifications and did not provide him with training to undertake the job.

•it failed to identify the risks of the bollards overturning, exposing employees of contractors and members of the public to risk of severe injury and death.

The trial before Sheriff Paul Arthurson QC continues.

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