Allegation Clinton Devon Estates fixed brakes on other trailers after fatal accident on the one day between police arranging date and turning up for inspection

“… Earlier, the prosecution concluded its opening by alleging that Kevin died because the farm company failed for enforce its own safety rules.

Clinton Devon Farms Partnership is a division of Clinton Devon Estates which manages 2,800 acres of organic farmland in the Lower Otter valley.

Clinton Devon Estates is Devon’s biggest private landowner with 17,000 acres in East and North Devon and 350 houses. It manages the holdings of Lord Clinton.

Mr Simon Laws, QC, prosecuting, said the brakes on the Richard Western trailer which Mr Dorman was towing failed completely and led to him losing control and crashing.

He said it was Mr Perrott’s job to maintain the trailer but checks after the crash showed the brakes had not been tightened correctly and the work had been ‘dreadful’.

Mr Laws said the company did not have the systems in place to ensure regular and efficient work was carried out and the only manual dated back to 1994, and was ‘hopelessly out of date’.

He said: “There was a simple failure to engage with reality and run the business in a way that did not put workers’ lives at risk through a lack of basic maintenance.

“Nobody either internally or externally had any proper oversight of Mr Perrott’s work so the trailers were neglected to the extent that one did not have any brakes at all.

“Our case is that this breach is so bad, it amounts to a crime. You might think it is a basic and vital step to check if the brakes were working after they had been adjusted.

“That cannot have been done or the problem would have been discovered. To allow a trailer in this condition to be used by an unsuspecting driver is grossly negligent.

“There is no suggestion that Mr Perrott intended this outcome but what he did was exceptionally bad and therefore a crime. The case against CDFP is that no system was in place to ensure maintenance was carried out to a reasonable standard.

“The failure by senior management was extremely serious. A man died because no steps were taken to ensure he was driving a safe trailer.

“They had written policies to ensure safety but they were in a filing cabinet somewhere and not applied on the ground. Having systems is one thing and making sure they are implemented is quite another thing. It was simply a paper exercise.”

He said police arranged to check the brakes on the other two trailers in use on the farm but arrived to find that they had been serviced in the day between organising the visit and carrying out the inspection.

Mr Laws said it was apparent that work had been done on the brakes of the two Bailey trailers before police experts had a chance to examine them.

The trial continues.”