Six charges dropped over tragic Ben Craggs death

Police cordon off bollards in the north car park at the Royal Highland Show in 2008. Pic: Dan Phillips
Police cordon off bollards in the north car park at the Royal Highland Show in 2008. Pic: Dan Phillips
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SIX charges against the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland concerning the death of three-year old Ben Craggs at the Ingliston show in 2008 have been dropped by the Crown.

The trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard Fiscal Depute Alasdair MacLeod tell Sheriff Paul Arthurson QC that charges 1,2,3,5,7,8 were being withdrawn,

Proceedings will continue on charges 4 and 6. All the charges were brought under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Sheriff Arthurson acquitted the Society of the six charges.

The remaining two charges allege that between October 2, 2005, and November 19, 2009, at the Royal Highland Showground and surrounding car parking areas, the Society failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks posed by the use of moveable concrete bollards and failed to identify the risks of the bollards overturning, exposing members of the public and employees of contractors to severe injury and death.

Ben had been attending the Show with his parents, Jonathan and Dawn, from Sedgefield in County Durham, who were exhibiting cattle there.

The charges claim that Ben fell and seized hold of a rope which was connecting two concrete bollards, one of which overturned and struck him on the head, causing severe injuries. He died later in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

On the first day of the trial before nine women and six men, Ben’s father, 54-year old Jonathan, told how he had gone to his lorry in the Show’s North Car Park to get his white show jacket. It had been difficult to reach because it was hanging at the back of the cab and he had lifted Ben up to get it.

As he locked the lorry door, he heard a shout that a wee boy had fallen and rushed to find his son with a bollard lying on his head. He and a security guard had lifted the bollard up. Mr Craggs said he had realised his son’s injuries were serious as there was blood coming from his nose and ears.

Peter Gray QC, the Society’s counsel, told Sheriff Arthurson that the defence would be leading evidence tomorrow. It is expected the trial will end on Monday of next week.