A SERIES of failings at a Birmingham nightclub led to a fatal accident involving a Shirley man a court heard this week.
Barry Berlin, prosecuting on behalf of Birmingham City Council, said that 21-year-old Christopher Clarke had been ejected from the Oceana nightclub, in Hurst Street, in the early hours of February 3, 2007.
A doorman had escorted Mr Clarke out of a fire exit and left him in a staff car park. It is believed that when he found himself trapped, he had tried to climb out of the area. But during the attempt he had fallen to the ground and suffered fatal head injuries.
He was spotted by a passer-by later that evening and the emergency services were called to the scene. Mr Clarke was taken to City Hospital and pronounced dead at just gone 3am.
Mr Berlin said: “He was locked in an enclosed area in the early hours of the morning on a cold February night, wearing a short sleeved shirt.”
He went on to say that the car park should have been recognised as a significant risk.
Luminar Oceana Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge of contravening health and safety legislation. They pleaded not guilty to another health and safety offence, which the prosecution agreed should be subsumed into the more serious charge.
Jonathan Salmon, defending, passed on the company’s condolences to Mr Clarke’s family
He said that the car park’s gates - which were controlled by an automatic timer - had been open when the doorman had evicted Mr Clarke. He added that the company had no previous convictions.
Concerning the ejection of Mr Clarke through the fire exit, Mr Salmon said: “It would be wrong to imagine that this was a defendant who had failed to appreciate that use of these exits should require care.”
His Honour Judge Plunkett adjourned the case until next Tuesday (May 5) for sentencing.