14/03/19

Grateful Client | Food Safety & Hygiene | Health & Safety

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Kangs Solicitors has successfully represented a client and his company in respect of ten alleged offences contrary to Regulation 19 of the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2019 and breaches of the Health and Safety Regulations.

Sukhdip Randhawa explains the events.

The Environmental Health Investigation

During an inspection on the 16 November 2017 Environmental Health Officers noted:

Health and safety issues being:

  • an unguarded edge to a Mezzanine level
  • a broken banister to the steps leading to the Mezzanine level

Contraventions to the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations including:

  • no soap or means of hygienic hand drying facilities at the hand basin,
  • flooring which was dirty, and heavily impacted with a build-up of sugar,
  • boxes containing sweets in a dirty condition,
  • dirty machinery.
  • evidence of rat activity amongst the boxes of sweets.

Defence Preparation

Our client and his company were summonsed to appear before Sandwell Magistrates’ Court and prior to seeking our assistance he had, during interview, made a full admission to most of the allegations.

During the course of the defence preparation, Kangs defence team:

  • examined in detail all case papers,
  • discussed with our client the respective liabilities of himself and his company,
  • took detailed instructions from our client, particularly upon the admissions which had been made, the consequences of which were explained in detail,
  • conducted a site visit during which numerous photographs were taken,
  • conducted detailed negotiations with Sandwell Council which resulted in some charges being withdrawn and amended and guilty pleas being entered in relation to others thereby avoiding the need for a stressful and expensive trial,
  • prepared a detailed bundle of documents for consideration by the District Judge outlining the numerous improvements that had already been undertaken.

The Court Hearing

  • Sandwell Council submitted that this was a high culpability case for both the Health and Safety Breaches and the Food Hygiene Breaches and maintained that the starting point for the fines against the company should be £30,000, and £25,000 respectively.
  • The Council further submitted that in relation to our client the starting point should be a band F fine with a range including up to twenty six weeks custody for the Health and Safety Breaches, and further a band F fine with a range up to nine months custody in relation to the Food Safety and Hygiene Offences.

The Successful Outcome

On behalf of our client and his company, detailed and meticulous mitigation was presented, particularly evidencing the substantial effort and expense that had been injected in order to ensure that all of the matters complained of had been rectified.

Following his consideration of such mitigation the District Judge concluded he would not follow the Prosecution’s recommendations concerning the level of punishment and ordered the following fines:

The Company

  • £10,000 in relation to the most serious health and safety breach, with no separate penalty on the others offences.
  • £8000 in relation to the most serious food safety and hygiene breach, with no separate penalty in relation to the other charges.
  • Ordered to pay a victim surcharge and costs.

Our Client as director

  • £1200 for each of the serious breaches of the health and safety regulations, and the food safety and hygiene regulations, with no separate penalty being imposed in relation to all other matters.
  • Ordered to make a contribution towards costs and pay a victim surcharge.

Our client was very happy and relieved with the outcome having feared that the punishment may have been far more severe given the recommendations to the court by the Prosecution and the fact that the company had been fined on a previous occasion.

Our client said:

I want to say thank you for the complete professional handling of the case from start to finish.  Really appreciate how the case was put together in such a short space time and how you delivered on the day being precise and diplomatic.

Client

How Can We Help You? | Kangs National Regulatory Defence 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.

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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