The first corporate manslaughter prosecution against an NHS trust began in London yesterday.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust denies the charge, which has been made under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act. Consultant anaesthetist Errol Cornish has pleaded not guilty to gross negligence manslaughter.

A jury was sworn in this morning at Inner London Crown Court and the prosecution has begun opening its case.

The trial follows the death of primary school teacher Frances Cappuccini, 30, who died after giving birth by emergency caesarean section in October 2012 at the trust’s Pembury Hospital.

The charge sheet in relation to the trust alleges that it “failed to take reasonable care to ensure that the anaesthetists involved in the care of Mrs Cappuccini held the appropriate qualifications and training for their role, and further failed to take reasonable care to ensure that there was the appropriate level of supervision for the anaesthetic treatment of Mrs Cappuccini”.

Trust representatives were present in court, as are members of Ms Cappuccini’s family and several national journalists.

It is the first case of an NHS trust being charged under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act.

The trial continues.

First NHS trust in court for corporate manslaughter case