Not guilty verdict in fatal accident trial

Stranraer Sherrif Court
Stranraer Sherrif Court

Sixty-two-year old Anthony Soriani, who was accused of breaching Health and Safety rules, after a fatal accident at a Tarff Valley depot in Whauphill, has been found not guilty.

The jury returned the not guilty verdict this afternoon after a five-day trial at Stranraer Sheriff Court.

Mr Soriani had pled not guilty to a charge of failing in his role as manager of Tarff Valley Ltd, Whauphill, to ensure customers were not exposed to risk, after the death of Brian Allan at the agricultural suppliers depot in January 2014.

In February, Tarff Valley Limited, were fined £28,000 by Sheriff Kenneth Robb at Stranraer Sheriff Court, after the company admitted to a technical breach of Heath and Safety Legislation, by failing to keep a recorded audit of health and safety inspections done on the premises.

Sentencing, Sheriff Robb said he noted that regular inspections were carried out with an aim to review health and safety, but the findings of these audits were not recorded, and therefore were a technical breach of the heath and safety legislation.

He added: “Adequate attempts were made to assess risk but it was inadequate that the reports fell short. The lack of a recorded audit must have had an effect on the system of health and safety in Tarff Valley, Whauphill.”

The sheriff accepted this was an isolated incident an taking into account mitigating factors and the good record that Tarff Valley Limited had working with Health and Safety Inspectors, the good working practices of the company and the technical nature of the breach, he limited the fine to £28,000.

On January 31, 2014, customer Brian Allan stood on the bucket of a telescopic tractor and was lifted up four metres up by Tarff Valley employee Anthony Soriani, who was driving the tractor, to allow Mr Allan to retrieve feed from a rack in the storeroom at Tarff Valley, Whauphill. Brian Allan fell from the upper level, sustaining fatal injuries.