Client Retains Liberty | Nut Allergy | Food Safety & Hygiene


Kangs Solicitors has successfully defended a client charged with three offences under Food Safety legislation.

Sukhdip Randhawa reports upon the circumstances.

The Circumstances

  • Our client supplied food that had been ordered via the ‘Just Eat’ electronic app.
  • The order highlighted that the complainant suffered an allergy to both peanuts and hazelnuts.
  • Unfortunately, whilst eating the meal, the complainant started to suffer an allergic reaction to the food delivered and had to be rushed to York Accident and Emergency Department.
  • The complainant reported the incident to ‘Just Eat’ and City of York Council which led to an investigation.

The Investigation

  • Environmental Health Officers established the presence of peanuts in the food that had been delivered.
  • In the face of the allegations put forward by the Environmental Health Officers, our client categorically maintained that he had not used any product that should have resulted in an allergic reaction.
  • Following the issue of proceedings, the Prosecution maintained that our client’s culpability was very high and that, if convicted, the starting point for sentencing by a Magistrates’ Court would be nine months imprisonment.

Defence Preparation

  • Having already been interviewed and summonsed to appear before York Magistrates’ Court, our client sought assistance from the experienced team at Kangs Solicitors.

In preparing his defence our team:

  1. examined all case papers in great detail
  2. discussed with our client the seriousness of his position, taking detailed instructions
  3. conducted detailed discussions with the Prosecution
  4. prepared all requisite documentary material to support our client’s version of events

The Successful Outcome

  • Although our client accepted some degree of negligence he categorically denied deliberately using any harmful ingredients.
  • Our client was advised to plead guilty to two offences on a limited basis, and deny a third offence.
  • A detailed Basis of Plea was served on his behalf but this was not accepted by the Prosecution.
  • Following detailed discussions at the Hearing, the District Judge found that culpability on the part of our client was high and the category of harm was Category One.

However, based upon the detailed submissions which had been prepared and submitted on behalf of our client:

  1. it was established that a custodial sentence was not appropriate.
  2. he received a fine of £9,000 in relation to one charge.
  3. there was no further penalty on the second charge.
  4. our client was ordered to pay the Prosecution costs and a victim surcharge.

Naturally, our client was very relieved to have retained his liberty and grateful for the detailed efforts made by Kangs Solicitors in ensuring that he did not receive a custodial sentence as sought by the Prosecution.

How Can We Help You?

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.

If you have 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.

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