Kangs Solicitors has successfully protected the liberty of a client who was facing imprisonment arising from serious breaches of the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations.
Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors reports upon the circumstances.
The Circumstances | Kangs Regulatory Defence Team
- In January 2018 Environmental Health Officers inspected our client’s food ‘takeway business’ and discovered:
- the same containers being used to store raw meat and ready to eat salads.
- food handlers being unaware of food cooking and cooling practices and
- food handlers not properly washing their hands
- Immediate improvements were required.
- On the 9th March 2018, a further inspection revealed:
- there was no hot running water at the premises, due to the boiler being damaged some days previously
- food handlers were handling raw meat and raw unwashed vegetables and salads,
- A Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Notice was served as the lack of hot water posed a real and imminent risk of food contamination, and food poisoning but this was removed once a new fitted boiler was in place.
- Further visits to the premises in September, October and December revealed that little progress had been achieved to rectify the unsatisfactory state of affairs and the decision was made to prosecute our client under the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013.
How We Assisted Our Client | Kangs Environmental Health Defence Solicitors
- As our client did not instruct us until shortly before the Magistrates’ Court Hearing, we obtained an adjournment to enable the voluminous paperwork that had been received from the prosecuting authorities to be examined.
- Having examined all the case papers in great detail, we:
- discussed with our client the seriousness of his position whilst taking detailed instructions
- conducted detailed discussions with the Prosecution
- prepared all requisite documentary material to support our client’s defence
- drafted a Basis of Plea
- negotiated acceptable pleas with the Prosecution.
The Hearing | Kangs Health & Safety Solicitors
- Although the Prosecution were prepared to accept guilty pleas to four of the charges and would offer no evidence in relation to the first charge they would not accept the Basis of Plea that had been put forward.
- This was a case where unlimited fines may have been imposed in the Magistrates’ Court.
- The matter was referred to a District Judge before whom the Prosecution submitted that this was a case that fell at the top of the Sentencing Guidelines, with culpability being very high.
- As such the starting point was an immediate custodial sentence of nine months, with the range being up to an eighteen month custodial sentence.
- In the circumstances of the case, the matter was committed for Sentence to Nottingham Crown Court.
The Successful Outcome | Kangs Food Safety and Hygiene Solicitors
- Her Honour Judge Hancox, noted that the breaches were repeated and that our client had relevant previous convictions. However, having considered the very detailed mitigation prepared and submitted by Kangs Solicitors on behalf of our client, she decided that a suspended prison sentence order would be the appropriate sentence.
- She further considered our client’s financial means and ordered that he pay less than half of the costs that were requested by the Prosecution, albeit that she did make him subject to a Hygiene Prohibition Order.
- Our client was very relieved at the result and was very grateful for the efforts made by Kangs Solicitors in ensuring that he did not receive an immediate custodial sentence, as sought by the prosecution.
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.
If you have similar issues and would appreciate some early expert and robust advice please do not hesitate to contact our team through one of the following who will be happy to guide you: