Delighted Client | Penalties Restricted
Kangs Solicitors has recently defended our client and his company who were charged with seven offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2019.
Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors outlines the allegations and the steps taken by the Team at Kangs Solicitors in the pursuit of the successful outcome which was achieved.
The Environmental and Food Safety Team at Kangs Solicitors regularly represents individuals and businesses, engaged in the production and distribution of food products, facing investigation and prosecution in relation to all aspects of the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations.
We act for all food-led business ranging from national chain operators to small independent traders throughout England & Wales and provide expert advice and guidance in relation to the complex laws and regulations governing food safety.
For an initial no obligation discussion, please contact our team at any of the offices detailed
The Environmental Health Investigation | Kangs Regulatory Offences Defence Team
During an inspection of one of our client’s business premises in December 2021, an Environmental Officer discovered:
- the absence of soap or means of hygiene handwashing at the hand basin,
- an overflowing waste bin which had no lid,
the chef failing to properly wash his hands after handling raw meat,
- inadequate procedures in place to control mice,
- inadequate procedures to secure satisfactory cleanliness and maintenance,
that the floor surfacing was not adequately maintained and cleansed.
- there was no approved Food Safety Management System in place.
How We Assisted Our Clients | Kangs Health and Food Safety Solicitors
Our director client had attended a Voluntary Interview on both his own behalf and that of his company without having sought any preparatory legal advice and guidance.
During the Interview he made substantial admissions in relation to all offences alleged which resulted in court summonses being issued against both himself and the company.
By way of preparing for the case the Team at Kangs Solicitors:
- examined in detail all of the case papers,
explained to our client the extent to which he had limited his options by virtue of the admissions which he had made and discussed the most appropriate manner in which to proceed in the pursuit of the most favourable outcome which may be achieved,
- conducted detailed negotiations with the Prosecutor attempting to reach an acceptable agreed sentencing structure based upon the Official Sentencing Guidelines but which proved unachievable,
- prepared a detailed Bundle of Documents containing evidence in support of mitigation on behalf of both of our clients to be put before the District Judge for his consideration at the Hearing.
At the Hearing, the Prosecutor submitted to the Court that the offences committed by our director client and his company were of ‘high culpability’ maintaining that our client director had acted with actual foresight or wilful blindness to the risk of offending and categorised the actions as Category 1 harm.
The Prosecution maintained that the ‘starting point’ for the Judge’s consideration when sentencing was, in respect of our director client, a Band F fine and, for the company, a £25,000 fine.
On behalf of both clients, it was put to the Court that culpability should be ‘medium’ in view of the mitigation points tendered which included the facts that:
- the other business premises controlled by our director client had been awarded a ‘Five Star’ rating,
our director client had employed a manager at the business who was suitably qualified to run the premises,
- harm should be regarded as Category 2 on the basis that although there was evidence of mice activity, there was no infestation.
The Successful Outcome.
Had the District Judge not accepted the mitigating factors robustly submitted on behalf of our clients, but had simply accepted the Prosecution submissions, the ‘starting point’ for consideration by the District Judge, when sentencing our client director, was a Band F fine, and, potentially, twelve weeks custody.
Having carefully considered all submissions, the District Judge rejected those made by the Prosecution in relation to culpability but accepted those in relation to harm.
Accordingly, the Judge’s decisions resulted in a ‘starting point’ for sentencing our director client at a Band D fine and, for the company, a £10,000 fine rather than the starting point of £25,000, mentioned above.
Having reached these conclusions, the Judge handed down the following fines:
- £10,000 in relation to all 7 breaches admitted plus
- prosecution costs of £1,874.50.
Our Client Company Director
- £1,000 fine in relation to all 7 offences plus
- £170 victim surcharge.
Our client was absolutely delighted at the outcome achieved on his behalf by the Team at Kangs Solicitors, especially having regard to the admissions he had made on behalf of himself and his company and the extent to which this encouraged the Prosecution to secure the maximum penalties available.
How Can We Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors
As can be seen from the above, it is imperative that any business or individual invited to attend an Interview of any nature with potential criminal implications should seek immediate expert legal advice to ensure that the status quo of those concerned is preserved as far as possible in the circumstances.
We are pleased to assist clients in relation to Food Safety and Environmental Investigations throughout England & Wales.
We provide initial no obligation discussion at our three offices in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Alternatively, discussions can be held virtually through live conferencing or telephone.