“… Exeter Crown Court was told that the brakes on the John Western Suffolk trailer which he was towing failed completely, leading to him losing control of both vehicles, leaving them to career 16 feet down into a sunken lane.
The trailer, which contained grass cuttings and weighed a total of ten tons, landed on top of the cab of the tractor. Mr Dorman died of head injuries at the scene.
Clinton Devon Farms Partnership, (CDFP) of Hawkerland Road, Colaton Raleigh, and George Perrott, aged 51, of Colebrook, Crediton, are both accused of manslaughter and failing to ensure the safety of an employee.
Mr Simon Laws, QC, prosecuting, said Mr Dorman’s death was ‘completely unnecessary’ and was caused by the poor maintenance of the trailer and its brakes.
He added: “The prosecution case is Perrott was the man responsible for the maintenance of the brakes. He performed that task in a way that can only be described as criminally negligent.
“He was allowed to do his job in that grossly negligent way because his employers at CDFP had no proper system in place to monitor or supervise his work to ensure the trailer brakes were properly maintained.
“As a result, a man died a death that was completely unnecessary. Trailers pose a very well-known risk to farm workers and the maintenance task was a simple one.
“Perrott failed to carry it out properly and senior management at CDFP appeared to have no proper grip at all on what was happening on their farm with regard to their trailers. …”