Craig Hassall Q.C. secures £1.5 Million fine on behalf of the HSE against a company which closed in 2021 after it was found guilty of four health and safety breaches.

The investigation by The Health & Safety Executive followed a fatal accident at Cleveland Bridge in Darlington on the 25th October 2016. Keith Poppleton was an electrician working at the company via an agency. He had been asked to investigate an electrical fault on an overhead crane. Having climbed onto the crane’s walkway he fell 25 ft (7.6m) through an unsecured access panel onto the floor below. He died at the scene.

The company, which closed in 2021 after entering administration, was found guilty of four health and safety breaches and ordered to pay a £1.5m fine by Teesside Crown Court.

Cleveland Bridge, which had a turnover of £44.2m in the year of Mr Poppleton’s death, collapsed in September with debts of £21.7m and the loss of more than 100 jobs. The company is no longer trading.

Craig Hassall Q.C. was first instructed in the matter and later assisted by Robert Stevenson who attended at the trial in absence at Peterlee Magistrates Court. The matter was then committed to Teesside Crown Court and HHJ Stead passed sentence today.

Press coverage:


Northern Echo 


Craig Hassall is a specialist in Business and Regulatory Crime Health and Safety and is Head of PSQB’s Regulatory Crime and Public Law Team. He is well-known for his ability to conduct highly complex cases and is currently involved in many high profile cases involving multi million pound turnover companies. He receives repeated recognition in legal directories.

“He strikes exactly the right tone at health and safety hearings and inquests and has a good rapport with clients.” “He is calm under pressure, level-headed and strategic.” “He’s able to deal with technical, complex cases.” Chambers & Partners (2022)

Craig is an exceptionally gifted counsel. He quickly instills confidence in clients. A silk with an eye for the details but never loses sight of the bigger picture.” Legal 500 (2022)

For further information about Craig or any member of the team please contact the Regulatory & Public Law clerks:


Madeleine Gray on 0113 202 8603

Patrick Urbina on 0113 213 5250