Kangs Solicitors has successfully defended a client and his company in respect of a prosecution by Sandwell Borough Council for offences contrary to Regulation 19 of the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013.

Suki Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors outlines the proceedings.

The Investigation | Kangs Food Hygiene Offences Defence Solicitors

During an Inspection of our client’s premises Environmental Health officers discovered a number of unacceptable circumstances including:  

  • sinks and toilets were dirty, with no soap or hand drying facilities
  • the packaging machines  and a conveyor belt were damaged
  • a dirt trap accumulating dirt
  • there were no cleaning products on site at the time of the visit
  • the white coats provided for staff were dirty, and in a poor state of repair with frayed sleeves
  • peeling hazardous tape on the mezzanine floor guarding nest to the open sweet hopper feeds
  • waste was piled up at the rear of the warehouse
  • the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point documentation was not being implemented effectively.

Environmental Health Officers made a second visit to the premises on the 25th October 2019 and found that the problems had not been adequately addressed with the result that a Hygiene Improvement Notice was served.

During a final visit on the 3rd April 2019, it was noted that some improvements had been made and the Hygiene Improvement Notice had been complied with.

Defence Preparation | Kangs Food Safety & Hygiene Defence Solicitors

Our client attended a voluntary interview with Environmental Officers alone and without legal representation during which he made numerous admissions on behalf of himself and his company as the result of which both our client and his company were charged with twelve offences.

In preparation for the court case, the team at Kangs Solicitors:

  1. obtained and examined in detail all the case papers,
  2. discussed with our client both his position and that of his company at length
  3. took full and detailed instructions and advised upon the appropriate course to adopt to achieve the most satisfactory outcome available
  4. compiled all relevant documents including a defence document dossier.

Important Defence Considerations | Kangs Solicitors Defence Team

Given the admissions that our client had made during interview on behalf of his company and himself he was advised that guilty pleas would have to be entered by both.

However, we identified significant points that could be used in mitigation including:

  1. this was our client’s first business venture having previously been made redundant from his position as an employee
  2. he had no previous experience in running a business
  3. he had co-operated during the investigation  
  4. he had attended courses, as had staff members, with a view to understanding the requirements of the business
  5. he had suffered ill health, prior to and during the investigation, which was of significance.

The Successful Result | Kangs Solicitors Court Advocates

Having considered all representations put forward by the Kangs trial preparation team, the District Judge, although categorising culpability as high, decided that the harm caused was only to be considered at Category Three, as opposed to that contended by the Prosecution as the more serious level of Category Two.  

Accordingly,  

  • our client was fined £160 and ordered to pay £1000 towards costs plus a victim surcharge of £30. 
  • the company was fined a total of £1000 with a victim surcharge of £100, and a contribution to costs of £2699.
  • Had the harm been categorised as a Category Two offence as requested by the Prosecution, the fines could have amounted to many thousands of pounds more. 

Having considered the detailed mitigation prepared by the Kangs team, the District Judge indicated that he felt able to exercise his range of sentencing for the benefit of our client. 

Naturally, our client was both relieved and jubilant with the outcome, as he was expecting fines running into tens of thousands of pounds, and expressed his gratitude to Kangs Solicitors.

How Can We Help? | Kangs Environmental Health Solicitors

It is important for any business or individual facing any situation which may have criminal implications to seek expert legal advice at the earliest possible stage to ensure that the welfare of those concerned can be protected as far as possible in the prevailing circumstances.

Kangs Solicitors has a wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with all matters of environmental health and food hygiene law.

Our specialist solicitors are able to provide advice and assistance throughout the entire criminal process.

Who Can I Contact For Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors

If you have similar issues or would appreciate some early expert and robust advice please do not hesitate to contact our team through any of the following who would be happy to help.

Suki Randhawa
srandhawa@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 | 07989 521210

John Veale
jveale@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 07989 521210

Helen Holder
hholder@kanngssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 | 0161 817 5020