Friday, September 01, 2006

Death in the Bay: The Cocklepickers' Story

My Tapestry Lecturer Loren Slater's film 'Death in the Bay: The Cocklepickers' Story' is being screened this week on Channel 4. It's part of the 'Otherside' late night series at 12.45am on Thursday 31st August.

Project Manager Loren Slater (right)

It's been pick of the day in a lot of the weekend papers.

Click to enlarge: News item on Death in the Bay

For details visit Shoreline Films

Still from the film


Death in the Bay is an hour-long documentary investigating the deaths of 23 Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay and how the aftermath affected the communities surrounding it.

24 March 2006

The Crown Prosecution Service says today's convictions of three people in connection with the drowning of 21 cockle pickers at Morecambe Bay in 2004 is a signal of intent towards employers who risk their employees' lives.

Lancashire Crown Prosecution Service reviewing lawyer Duncan Birrell says: "The victims died because their lives were considered less important than the pursuit of profit.

"This prosecution had two aims. To secure justice for those who died, and to secure justice for the way they were exploited while they were alive.

"Today's convictions send out a powerful warning that the CPS will aggressively pursue anyone who tries to recruit workers illegally into this country and put them to work with no regard for their safety or welfare."

As a result of this prosecution, three people were today convicted at Preston Crown Court.

The main defendant, Lin Liang Ren was convicted on 21 counts of manslaughter.

Lin Liang Ren was also found guilty along with his girlfriend Zhao Xiao Qing of conspiring to pervert the course of justice by trying to conceal who had sent the 21 cockle pickers out to drown in Morecambe Bay.

Lin Liang Ren, his cousin Lin Mu Yong who was also a gangmaster and Zhao Xiao Qing were found guilty of facilitating breaches of the Immigration Act by contributing towards illegal immigrants being put to work. Anthony Eden and his son David who owned the company who bought the cockles from the gangmasters were acquitted of the same charges.

Mr Birrell said: "It is workers who have no employment rights, no choice about the work they do, no rights to contact the authorities to complain about working conditions – indeed the need to avoid the attention of the authorities because of why they came to be in this country – who can be forced into carrying out hazardous work that nobody else wants to do.

"However every person has the same right to justice, whether they are an illegal immigrant or a UK citizen. I am particularly anxious that the victims' families should know this. Although England is so far away from their homes, our thoughts, sympathies and best wishes are with them at this time."

This case was so complicated and wide ranging that it took 18 months to prepare and the trial itself lasted six months.

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