Hugo Boss UK Limited has pleaded guilty to two offences relating to health and safety breaches after a four-year-old boy was crushed by an unsecured 18-stone mirror at its Bicester Village store.
Jonathan Laidlaw QC acted on behalf of the luxury fashion brand at Banbury Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Tuesday), to enter the plea relating to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
The charges relate to the death of Austen Harrison of Crawley, who died when an unsecured wall mirror fell on him in the changing room area of the store.
The incident on June 4 2013 left Austen with irreparable brain damage and his life support machine was turned off at the John Radcliffe Hospital four days later on June 8.
An inquest into Austen’s death was held at County Hall in Oxford in March, where coronor Darren Salter delivered a narrative verdict.-
At Tuesday’s hearing, Barry Berlin, prosecuting on behalf of Cherwell District Council, said although Hugo Boss could be sentenced in the magistrates’ court, the maximum fine of £20,000 per offence was not sufficient.
He said: “Plainly this is a very serious matter relating to a child aged four-and-a-half who on June 4 2013 was struck on the head by a seven feet tall, 18-stone free standing three-way mirror.
“It wasn’t fixed to the wall despite its own requirements. We say bearing in mind that the injuries the child sustained resulted in his death this is a case that should be dealt with in the crown court.”
District judge David Chinery adjourned the case for sentencing at Oxford Crown Court on a provisional date of June 19.
He said: “This is quite planinly an exceptionally sad case and one where I consider that the penalties available in this court are clearly, clearly not appropriate to a case of this magnitude.”