Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Friday, 23 January 2009

Pair fined over farm hand death

Lee Mason
Lee Mason died in the accident near Bristol in April 2007

A farmer and his son have been fined for health and safety failings which led to a teenager's death in a farm machinery accident.

Roy Hill, 63, and his son Michael, 31, failed to place a protective guard on the soil-sifter that dragged Lee Mason, 17, to his death in April 2007.

They were found guilty of safety breaches but cleared of manslaughter.

Mr Hill senior, of Bristol, was fined 5,000 and 1,500 costs, and Michael Hill was fined 2,500 and 500 costs.

Safety laws

Avon Coroner's Court previously confirmed that the teenager died when his neck was broken by the machine.

Bristol Crown Court had heard that Mr Mason was of limited intelligence and would have needed intensive training to use the machine.

In 1996, Roy Hill was sentenced to three months' prison after breaching health and safety laws on asbestos, during building demolition work in Bristol.

But Mr Justice Jack said both men were decent and honest.

"The protective guard should never have been left off, it was a breach of safety," he said.

"Lee Mason should not have been left to run the machine by himself.

"Neither of you wished any harm to Lee Mason; you wished to help a young man with disability to get a start in life."

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