The Court of Appeal heard a case of an amateur landlord who had been found guilty of causing her tenant’s death because she had not serviced the boiler and consequently she was given a suspended prison sentence and crippling fines. The Court of Appeal did not agree that the punishment was too harsh.
The 30-year-old boiler had not been serviced, there was no regular maintenance so the landlord was not aware that it was leaking carbon monoxide, which suffocated the tenant while he was asleep on the sofa, and killed him, it was lucky that his partner survived.
The landlord’s financial penalties included £4,000 in fines and ordered to pay costs of £17,500 along with a 16-month jail sentence which was suspended, she was further ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work. She admitted breaking the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
The Court dismissed her appeal that the punishment was too severe, she would be unable to pay the financial element and have to sell her home, and that the suspended jail sentence was too much. The Court acknowledged that she did not know that the boiler was faulty but that she as a landlord had a responsibility to her tenants.
The judge pointed out that had the court believed she completely disregarded the welfare of her tenants then the punishment would have been much harsher. The original judge had reduced the costs and allowed more time to pay, and he believed that the sentences were not too harsh, and commensurate with the charges she faced.
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