Richard Heller successfully argues limited liability in food safety trial

24 October 2018

Richard Heller, instructed by Rachel Taylor at Wilkin Chapman Epton Blades, represented Dixfield LLP at Hull Crown Court at their sentencing hearing for the supply of unsafe food at a wedding reception, the consumption of which the prosecution alleged caused a 3-year-old girl to go into anaphylactic shock. Following an application to dismiss earlier in the year, Richard successfully brought about the withdrawal of three similar counts, leaving one count to which the LLP pleaded guilty. There was, however, substantial disagreement between the prosecution and defence about the appropriate application of the sentencing guidelines. The prosecution argued that the facts of the case merited findings of high culpability and the highest levels of harm, meaning a starting point fine of £50,000 with a range up to £200,000.

Having heard extensive legal argument, the judge accepted Richard’s submissions that the LLP had a comprehensive food safety and management system in place, that it was an isolated incident and that the prosecution could not prove that the food served had caused anaphylaxis. As a result, the LLP was fined £2000 and ordered to pay less than half of the prosecution’s costs. For more information, see press links below:

  1. BBC
  2. Metro
  3. Mirror
  4. The Sun
  5. Hull Live
  6. York Press