In a previous article posted to this site Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors commented upon the powers of the Fire Safety Inspectorate and its fire safety officers.
He now considers custodial sentences being imposed for breaches of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (‘the Regulations’).
If you are faced with any Investigation or Proceedings under the Regulations, please feel free to contact the team at Kangs Solicitors for expert advice and assistance as our team is experienced in advising and defending clients in respect of Regulatory Proceedings of every nature.
For an initial no obligation discussion, please contact our team at our offices detailed below:
Sentencing Considerations | Kangs Fire Safety Solicitors
As there are no official Sentencing Guidelines in respect of offences committed under the Regulations, at a Sentencing Hearing a Judge may well refer to official Guidelines that have published to cover other Regulatory Offences.
Two of the factors which will be taken into consideration by a Sentencing Judge are the Defendant’s culpability and the risk of potential harm of death or serious injury arising from the commission of the offence.
In the decided cases highlighted below:
- in both of them, the Judges remarked that the potential consequences of the offences could have been catastrophic, notwithstanding that no injury had occurred.
- in one of the cases, the Court stated that where there are no Sentencing Guidelines, the Court has to apply the basic principles of sentencing where:
- the starting point is Part 12 of The Criminal Justice Act 2003, Section 142 and
- section 143 provides how the Court will determine the seriousness of the offence, in particular having regard to the offender’s culpability in committing the offence and any harm which the offence caused, was intended to cause or might foreseeably have caused.
Sentencing Examples | Kangs Health & Safety Defence Solicitors
- The owner of a wedding venue, who pleaded guilty to nine charges of failure to comply with the Regulations was jailed for twenty months at Chester Crown Court in June 2018.
Amongst matters taken into consideration were:
- placing venue, staff and visitors at risk of death or serious injury,
- failure to review fire risk assessments,
- inadequate fire protection, alarms and firefighting equipment and
- a lack of fire safety training for staff.
At the Sentencing Hearing, the Judge commented:
‘A more flagrant breach of the legislation that cannot be in my view.
You simply ignored many of the important aspects of the Enforcement Notices and completely ignored two Prohibition Notices, there to ensure that the public is not placed at risk’.
- A hotelier, who was of previous good character, pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity to five offences under the Regulations and was sentenced in May 2017 to eight months imprisonment.
The hotel, which had forty-five bedrooms, was inspected by fire officers.
The inspection revealed failure:
- In the operation of the fire alarms,
- to update fire risk assessments,
- to carry out regular fire drills,
- to test emergency lighting systems and fire alarms and
- to provide adequate staff training.
Although there was no suggestion that the Defendant’s offending was motivated by a desire to save on expenditure or create any financial advantage for himself, the court decided there was no other method of dealing with this matter other than by way of an immediate custodial sentence.
How Can We Help? | Kangs Fire Safety Defence Solicitors
As can be noted from the above two examples, the Courts will treat any breach of the Regulations seriously with the realistic prospect of a custodial sentence being granted.
The team at Kangs Solicitors is able to assist in respect of all regulatory matters of every nature and seriousness.
Hamraj Kang leads an award-winning team of solicitors nationally reputed for its excellence in serious and complex investigations of every nature.
We welcome any enquiries by telephone or email.
Our team of lawyers is available to meet at any of the offices in London, Birmingham or Manchester or alternatively, we are happy to arrange meetings via video conferencing.
Our team can be contacted through any one of the following who will be happy to discuss the situation with you.