Another Successful Result | Food Safety & Hygiene
Kangs Solicitors have successfully defended a well-established company that has been trading for over fifty years in the centre of London’s tourist industry and which faced prosecution by Westminster City Council for breaches of various Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations.
Sukhdip Randhawa explains the events.
The Environmental Health Investigation
Our client’s premises, a hotel and restaurant, were inspected by Environmental Health Officers on 16th November 2016 when it was discovered that inadequate procedures were in place for pest control and mouse droppings were observed in several locations.
A Hygiene Improvement Notice was served on the company on 23rd November 2016 requiring the company, by 7th December 2016, to:
- implement adequate procedures for pest control,
- arrange a survey of the premises to determine the pest access point and the extent of the infestation,
- remove pest harbourage to facilitate cleaning and pest control,
- carry out proofing works and all measures as identified in the survey,
- remove all mouse droppings and clean and disinfect all food and drink storage, and preparation areas.
During a further visit on 8th December 2016 it was noted by the Environmental Health Officer that nothing had improved since the previous visit and in response to interview questions the company director made a number of admissions.
During the course of the defence preparation, Kangs defence preparation team:
- examined in detail all case papers
- discussed with our client the position at length
- took full and detailed instructions
- conducted detailed negotiations with Westminster City Council which resulted in terms of settlement satisfactory to our client being agreed without the need for a contested trial
- prepared a Basis of Plea on behalf of the company
- prepared a bundle of documents to show to the Judge the numerous improvements that had been made to ensure that these offences could not occur again.
The Court Hearing
The Council submitted that:
- this was a high culpability case because the problems had subsisted over a long period of time,
- category levels were at level 2
- a starting point for sentence would be a fine of £12,000 within a range of between £4,000 and £22,000.
- there were aggravating features in the context of previous Notices that had been served upon the company.
As a result of the Basis of Plea and detailed mitigation prepared by Kangs Solicitors, the District Judge noted that:
- the offences had happened over a brief period of time and previous Notices had been complied with,
- this was a micro company under the guidelines, and the profitability was small compared with its turnover.
The District Judge was asked that maximum credit be given to the company reflecting its co-operation, completion of the voluntary PACE interview and the admissions made.
The Successful Outcome
After considering all the circumstances, the District Judge imposed a fine of £1,300 for charges 1 and 2, and made no separate penalty in relation to charge 4, despite the prosecution’s views as to the appropriate level of fine outlined above.
Our client was very pleased with the outcome and expressed his gratitude to Kangs Solicitors for the way that the defence had been meticulously prepared.
How Can Kangs Solicitors Help? | Kangs National Regulatory Defence Team
It is important that if you are facing any situation which may result in criminal implication that you seek expert legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that the welfare of those concerned can be protected as far as possible.
If you have any similar issues and would appreciate some early expert and robust advice please do not hesitate to contact our team who will be happy to guide you.