BREAKING NEWS: Jury retires to decide verdict on Southern Water trial

Chichester Crown Court where the case is being heard
Chichester Crown Court where the case is being heard

THE jury has retired to determine whether or not Southern Water is guilty of breaching environmental regulations by discharging 40million litres of raw sewage into the sea near Worthing.

The six men and six women have spent the past six days listening to all the evidence at Chichester Crown Court.

This morning (August 4) they heard a summary of the case, which was presented to them by judge Christopher Parker QC.

During his hour-long summary, Judge Parker reminded the jurors of how the East Worthing treatment works should have operated, in a normal situation.

He also spoke about key evidence and broke down the timeline events, which led to Southern Water pumping out the sewage from its short sea outfall, in September 1, 2012 until September 3.

He told the jury how Southern Water had claimed the incident was an emergency and that it had been forced into expelling the effluent in order to prevent flooding to local homes and Worthing Hospital, as well as preventing a risk to human health.

Judge Parker also reminded the jury of evidence put forward by the Environment Agency, which is prosecuting the water company, in which it claims there was never an emergency situation and that by Southern Water ejecting the sewage from the short sea outfall, the company had breached rules which clearly stipulate that sewage can only be pumped discharged three miles out to sea, in the long sea outfall.

Jurors were also told about how inlet screens, which prevent ragging – toilet paper and debris – entering the treatment works, had been removed from the site at the end of 2011, with only temporary bar screens being installed at the time of the incident.

Speaking to the jury at the start of the morning, judge Parker said juror were the ‘judges of the facts and the evidence’, adding they should use their ‘common sense, life experience and understanding of the world’ to determine the case.

For yesterday’s (Monday, August 3) coverage of the court case, click here.

For last week’s report, click on this link.

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