Company's rail crash fine reduced to £7.5m

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The record £10 million fine imposed on engineering giant Balfour Beatty in the wake of the Hatfield rail disaster was cut to £7.5 million by the Court of Appeal today.

Three judges headed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, held that the disparity between the fine and the £3.5 million fine on Railtrack was so great as to warrant a reduction.

"We consider there is scope for a reduction in the interests of proportionality which will still do justice to the applicable (legal) principles and, in particular, to the victims of the Hatfield disaster," said Lord Phillips.

Balfour Beatty's rail infrastructure division had admitted breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act in relation to the broken rail which caused the crash, killing four people and injuring many others.