Court clarifies sentencing principles in Sea Empress appeal

The record £4 million fine imposed on Milford Haven Port Authority for its role in the Sea Empress oil pollution disaster off Pembrokeshire four years ago was slashed to £750,000 in March. In doing so the Court of Appeal declined to establish new sentencing guidelines for environmental offences as advocated by a Home Office panel - but it underlined the broad applicability to the environmental arena of sentencing principles it set out last year for workplace safety offences. The case seems likely to reinforce the trend towards closer scrutiny of offenders' financial means by the courts.

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