THE society that runs the Royal Highland Show has been fined £100,000 over the death of a three-year-old boy who was struck by a falling concrete bollard.
The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland was yesterday found guilty, by a majority verdict, of one charge under health and safety laws.
Ben Craggs suffered fatal head injuries when a moveable concrete bollard fell on him at the event at Ingliston, near Edinburgh Airport, in June 2008.
The jury at Edinburgh Sheriff Court cleared the society of another charge, also on a majority verdict.
The 13-day trial heard Ben was at the show with his father Jonathan and mother Dawn, who farmed at Sedgefield in County Durham, and were exhibiting cattle at the event.
The accident happened on the first day of the show.
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As Mr Craggs was locking the door of his parked lorry, he heard a man shouting: “Quick, there’s a little boy fallen over.” Mr Craggs ran to find his son on the ground with the 322lb bollard on his head.
He and the man, who was working at the showground as a car parking steward, lifted the bollard off the boy.
The court heard Ben was bleeding from the nose and ears. He was taken to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, but died from head injuries.
Ben had fallen and seized hold of a rope connecting two bollards, one of which overturned, striking him on the head, the court heard. The court also heard from one witness who said the bollard had been “unstable” shortly before it fell over and hit Ben.
However, Roderick Evans, a health and safety expert, said the society could not have reasonably foreseen the accident which caused Ben’s death.
He said the society had inherited the bollards from a company, Spook Erections, which had run Sunday markets at the showground until 2005.
The society had appointed 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.”
Stephen Hutt, chief executive of the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland said: “Ben’s death was a tragic accident and our thoughts remain with Ben’s parents and extended family at this difficult time. Our number-one priority has always, and will continue to be, the safety and security of visitors.”
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