SULLY Sports and Leisure Club has been found guilty of failing health and safety laws that led to a Barry man breaking his neck after falling from a low wall.
A jury of seven men and five women found them guilty of failing to provide adequate lighting of the patio area of the Sully Sports and Leisure Club by a unanimous verdict in under two hours after a week-long trial at Newport Crown Court on Friday, June 20.
The sports and social club, owned by Barry Plastics Sports and Leisure Limited, is now likely to face a fine during sentencing on July 14.
Robert 'Bob' Kemp died after falling from a low wall following a civil partnership party held at the South Road venue on June 30, 2012.
Bob was well-known in the town as a double-glazing salesman on Church Road and as the founder of Junior Section of the Barry Arts Centre.
The defence, led by barrister Ian Dixey, who specialises in health and safety law, had argued that Mr Kemp was sitting on the wall and fallen off it.
The prosecution argued that the club had breached health and safety laws by failing to provide adequate lighting by the patio area as on the night in question the lights weren't working.
During summing up Recorder Ian Murphy QC said that the prosecution had argued that there was nothing wrong with the wall, provided that it was properly lit by daylight or adequate lighting.
He said that the defendants had put adequate lighting on the side of the wall and it was perfectly safe, but on the night in question those lights weren't working and it was inadequate lighting.
He said that Alex Greenwood, who was prosecuting in the court case, had argued that the lighting was so poor that it put Mr Kemp “at risk”.
He added that prior to falling evidence showed that Mr Kemp was “in perfectly good health” and that CCTV and family showed he was a “healthy and happy man when he came out of that club” and that he had been exposed to an unnatural risk to health.
In summing up the defence he said that barrister Ian Dixey had argued that although Mr Kemp had fallen from the wall medical evidence suggested that he had fallen backwards and was sitting on the wall.
He added that during the court case Mr Francis, who had been part of the club for 46 years and secretary for 32 years and was responsible for day to day running of the club, said there were weekly and monthly formal inspection routines and if anything went wrong “normally they were dealt with immediately”.
He added that health and safety was “very high on priorities” and that staff would survey the area before functions and “if something was wrong it would be put right straight away”.
He added that although they had not been health and safety trained they adopted a “common sense” approach and although it was a little archaic it “covered all the aspects of risk assessment”.
Despite this he added that he didn't know who was responsible for checking on the lights or that they were not working on the night.
Barry Plastics Sports and Leisure Limited, trading as Sully Sports and Leisure Club, was found guilty of failing to ensure the health and safety of persons under their employment, namely the visitor Robert Kemp, and will be sentenced on July 14.