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That there should be a crime of corporate manslaughter

(PRO)
WINNER!
8 points
(CON)
0 points
JackSpratJackSprat (PRO)

Corporations should be held criminally liable for manslaughter.


MANSLAUGHTER

Definition:


The unlawful killing of another without malice, either express or implied; which may be either voluntarily, upon a sudden heat, or involuntarily, but in the commission of some unlawful act. (https://thelawdictionary.org/manslaughter/)


CORPORATION

Definition:


An organization formed with state governmental approval to act as an artificial person to carry on business (or other activities), which can sue or be sued, and (unless it is non-profit) can issue shares of stock to raise funds with which to start a business or increase its capital.


OBJECTIVE OF ‘CORPORATE MANSLAUGHTER’

As defined, corporations are an artificial person (legal person), which has an identity for the purposes of contracting, owning property, etc. With rights come responsibilities. A corporation can be held responsible for all sorts of violations like environmental, health and safety, misuse of personal data (GDPR, HIPPA, etc), fraud, tax evasion, etc. It cannot be argued that corporations have immunity from responsibility for certain criminal acts.


Extending the criminal responsibility to manslaughter is important. The definition of manslaughter shows that the applicable death does not need to be intentional. Other forms of criminal unintentional death would include, criminal negligence causing death, driving under the influence of alcohol causing death, etc. (https://www.legalwills.ca/write_a_will?refcode=a122653626)

When corporations act in a manner that can foreseeably result in the death of someone, they should be held accountable. Whilst it can be argued that accountability is provided through tort legislation (suing the company), I argue that the level of accountability is not sufficient, and should be implemented for the following reasons:


  1. Holding a company accountable from a criminal perspective will provide the state with more powers to limit what a corporations rights are.

  2. It will provide better transparency to the public about what kind of conduct occurs that causes a wrongful death, and

  3. It ensures directors, and operators of companies are personally identified and held accountable for their conduct.


STATE POWERS

Staes have broad and varying powers based on their local laws as it relates to what a company can or cannot do. This includes limiting acts in regulated spaces (law, banking, finance, dangerous goods, food, etc). The states can also limit the commercial activity of a company, or limit its ability to affect commerce with the state if certain conditions are not met, or there is a history of previous violations. SNC Lavelin in Canada has been barred from bidding on government contracts because of a history of bribery of foreign governments (https://business.financialpost.com/news/fp-street/snc-lavalin-subsidiaries-barred-from-public-contracts-in-quebec-for-five-years)


States also limit who can act as board members of companies based on previous conduct (https://mnpdebt.ca/en/blog/being-a-director-or-shareholder-of-a-company-during-bankruptcy)


In the US the SEC has broad powers to limit who can sit on boards of publically traded companies.

We have established that the behavior and actions of regulatory bodies exist on who and what can sit on Boards of Directors. With a criminal manslaughter charge against a company, the rights of the regulators can be extended to include those critical decision-makers that were the proximate cause of the decisions that led to the unlawful death. The conduct of a board member MUST have health, and safety as a priority above wealth and profit. Codifying this as a manslaughter conviction, attaching too decision-makers would solidify this objective from a legislated perspective.


PUBLIC TRANSPARENCY

If someone is killed as a result of negligence from a company, the public does not know who or why the acts occurred that resulted in the death. A general exception is airlines, trains, and other organizations that are regulated and subject to public hearings. Very often the specific behaviors, and human factors of the individuals in question are questioned and reported on, which could have disastrous consequences for certain careers. Here is a summary of a report showing the focus on individual behaviors. Specifically, the pilot was blamed for not engaging the flaps in their takeoff position. (https://lessonslearned.faa.gov/Northwest255/Detroit%20NW255%20-%20NTSB%20Findings%20ga2.pdf)


Whilst the names are not included in the summary, they are included in the full report (https://www.clickondetroit.com/all-about-michigan/2019/08/15/32-years-ago-northwest-flight-255-crashes-after-takeoff-from-detroit-metro-airport/)


I argue the public has a right to know who participated in decisions that foreseeably lead to the unlawful death of an individual. I want to know this base on the companies I choose to engage with, and for future hiring, or voting reasons. The only way for me to know this is to have the transparency of a corporate manslaughter trial and conviction.


DIRECTOR ACCOUNTABILITY

As mentioned above when the transparency of a corporate manslaughter trial demonstrates and exposes the conduct of the critical decision-makers, the public and the regulators can now further limit or reprimand the offensive actors.  Having risky decision-makers, or people who inadvertently, but foreseeably cause the deaths of others is a serious public policy issue. Holding individuals publically held accountable, and reprimanded is essential to ensure lawless individuals are not permitted to represent corporate interests.

In short, the same level of responsibility and accountability should attach to commercial conduct, as it does to non-commercial conduct. 

The public has a right to know, to protect themselves, and to ensure corporations’ true primary foundation is not drowned in a pool of greed.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-04-26 00:03:30
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Previous Judgments

2020-05-02 02:08:07
Bugsy460Judge: Bugsy460    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: JackSprat
2020-05-02 10:55:41
dpowell3543Judge: dpowell3543    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: JackSprat
2020-05-07 00:21:34
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: JackSprat
2020-05-12 09:33:18
ccullen123Judge: ccullen123
Win awarded to: JackSprat
2020-05-22 08:36:17
KushJudge: Kush
Win awarded to: JackSprat
2020-05-23 05:46:30
adminJudge: admin    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: JackSprat
2020-05-24 03:14:31
VirtuosoJudge: Virtuoso
Win awarded to: JackSprat
Reasoning:
Full forfeit
0 comments on this judgement
2020-05-27 20:37:08
Patrick21Judge: Patrick21
Win awarded to: JackSprat

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