Food Safety prosecution of takeaway director halted at Snaresbrook Crown Court
Harry Vann, instructed by Mamata Dutta of RPC LLP, secured the quashing of the indictment at Snaresbrook Crown Court against a director of a small takeaway business in respect of a health inspection by the London Borough of Waltham Forest in March 2021.
The Local Authority issued summonses against all four directors of the corporate body just within the one-year limitation period for offences contrary to regulation 19 of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 on the basis that they, in addition to the corporate body, were Food Business Operators. The indictment instead alleged new Counts of offences contrary to regulation 20, that the corporate body’s offences were attributable to two of the directors’ neglect. Following service of the indictment, substantial further evidence was served in order to prove the mental element of the reg. 20 offences it alleged.
The two directors applied to have the indictment quashed on the basis that these were new offences, amounting to a new prosecution commenced out of time. The Local Authority claimed they were entitled to amend the charges in the form in the indictment on the basis that the new offences arose out of the same or substantially the same facts, and was in the interests of justice, following the Divisional Court’s decision of Dyson J (as he then was) in R. v. Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court ex parte McPhee & Anr  EWHC 228 (Admin.).
In allowing the application, the Court found that, “It is stretching matters to say that these new charges are founded substantially on the same facts, because there are totally different facts which have been produced subsequently to prove the case… it is not in the interests of justice to permit this amendment. The Prosecution should have got this right and at a very much earlier stage”. The Court quashed the relevant counts of the indictment accordingly. The Local Authority has confirmed that it does not intend to make an application to appeal.