TWgroup editor Lucy HuxleyThe right decision was reached by a Corfu court this week in a case in which no satisfactory outcome was possible.

Thomas Cook employees Richard Carson and Nicola Gibson were found not guilty of manslaughter by negligence following the deaths of seven-year-old Christianne Shepherd and her brother Robert, six, in October 2006.

Instead, three staff of the Louis Corcyra Beach Hotel were jailed for seven years each after being found guilty of manslaughter, while a civil engineer received two years on probation.

This will bring no comfort to the parents, who are pursuing a civil action against Thomas Cook. But what purpose would a guilty verdict on Carson and Gibson have served, other than to place an impossible burden on overseas reps?

What is important is that lessons are learned and acted upon.

UK operators cannot be accused of complacency on health and safety. They can take pride in the fact they have frequently led on the issue.

Leaving aside the details in this case, an underlying problem has been the lack of common health and safety standards within the European Union, let alone the rest of the world. Governments set these standards and the levels of enforcement, and both vary.

Given that local contractors across Europe abide by different local regulations, there is a compelling case for standardisation. This should surely be a priority in Brussels.


Should EU safety laws be standardised? Have your say in the travelhub forums