Justice for BBC Carpenter Brings Shame on the Corporation
After a long and tiring battle the sons of John Wightwick were relieved to finally achieve justice for their deceased father, receiving a compensation payment on his behalf. John had worked at the BBC for over 30 years, spending the majority of his time fixing and maintaining fire doors in BBC buildings all over London.
The BBC attempted to evade their responsibility for paying compensation for John’s asbestos lung cancer by arguing that they could rely on a paper produced by the inspector of Factories. The paper was Technical Data Note (TDN13) and set a level of asbestos dust exposure, at which if the employee was exposed, the employer would not be held to have acted criminally. The paper is irrelevant as the duty an employer has to an employee is to protect against known dangers, not just to act within the criminal law. During the time this paper was release there was a large body of evidence available that showed even small amounts of dust could be fatal, some of which was broadcast by the BBC itself!
John’s son Gary had the following to say:-
‘I have a lot of anger towards the BBC but my Dad was very pro BBC. He dedicated a large part of his life to it. We all watched my dad deteriorate, the death and the way our dad died had a massive effect on our family.’
‘One thing that gets me is it seems to me that there is a rule for one and a rule for another in this world. You can listen to some celebrity´s voicemail and they get a six figure sum in damages, yet kill someone who is a normal person with an industrial disease and your life´s worth nothing. It just shows the injustice of this world.’
Jennifer Wood, Solicitor said:-
‘It is a great shame on the BBC and its legal advisors that this time wasting Defence was put forward. Its only achievement was to delay the delivery of justice to this man and his family. My wish is that John is somehow aware that the case concerning his death has been resolved and that he can rest in peace.’