Kangs Solicitors have successfully represented the director of an Indian Restaurant and his company in relation to proceedings brought by York City Council for breaching Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations.
Sukhdip Randhawa of Kangs Solicitors, who had conduct of the matter, reports.
The Environmental Health Investigation | Kangs Regulatory Defence Team
Environmental Health officers attended the company’s premises on the 12th October 2017 and found that, in addition to existing concerns raised at previous inspections not having been attended to, new contraventions of Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations were apparent including:
- Disrepair and cleaning issues in the kitchen, yard and store room.
- Food was stored in uncovered conditions, open to contamination.
- There were no hand wash facilities in the kitchen, as the taps on the hand wash basin had been removed.
- There was no hand wash soap at the equipment washing sink and the nearest hand wash basin was in the customer toilet.
- Although the vegetable cooking oil was labelled as containing genetically modified soya, requirements that customers must be made aware of the same by appropriate notices were not complied with.
- Proper notice concerning the use of food allergens was not given.
As a result of the inspection, our client director and his company were served with five Hygiene Improvement Notices.
A further inspection was conducted on the 28th November 2017, and although some improvements were noted, there were still unresolved issues.
The Council also sought to rely upon an earlier conviction in respect of previous breaches.
Defence Preparation | Kangs Food Hygiene Solicitors
- Both our director client and his company had been summoned to appear before York Magistrates’ Court.
- Prior to seeking our assistance our director client had already attended for a voluntary interview under caution unrepresented, and, during which, he made a number of admissions in relation to the allegations.
During the course of the defence preparation, Kangs defence team:
- Examined in detail all case papers
- Discussed with our client the position relating to himself and his company
- Took detailed instructions
- Explained to our director the inevitable consequences of the admissions made by him in interview
- Conducted detailed negotiations with York City Council which resulted in two charges being withdrawn, and guilty pleas being entered in relation to the remaining charges, which avoided the need for a contested trial
- Agreed a plea on the basis of our client’s interviews
- Prepared a detailed bundle of documents for consideration by the Magistrates outlining the numerous improvements that had already been made.
- Obtained a supportive character reference.
The Court Hearing | Kangs Environmental Health Solicitors
York City Council submitted that this was a high culpability case attracting a fine between £4,000 and £25,000 on the basis that there had been repeated visits to the premises and one of the Hygiene Improvement Notices had not been complied with.
In mitigation, Kangs Solicitors:
- submitted that culpability was low to medium
- were able to show that there was not a serious or systematic failure to address the risks to health and safety
- evidenced the systems in place
- produced documentary evidence, including invoices, proving the works that had been undertaken and progress that had been made since the last visit by environmental health officers.
The Successful Outcome | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors
After considering all of the mitigation put forward:
- the chairman of the presiding Magistrates told our client “it is fair to say that your Solicitor has done very well for you”
- the Magistrates concurred that this was a low to medium culpability case
- the company was fined £800 in relation to the first charge with no separate penalty imposed in relation to the other three charges and an order for a contribution towards costs was made.
- our company director client was fined £260 and ordered to make a contribution towards costs.
Kangs Solicitors client was very happy with the outcome and expressed his delight, indicating that he feared that the fines would run into tens of thousands of pounds especially as the Council sought to recover costs in the region of £3,000.
How Can Kangs Solicitors Help? | Kangs National Regulatory Defence Team
It is important that if you are facing any situation which may result in criminal implication that you seek expert legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that the welfare of those concerned can be protected as far as possible.