Friday, 8 October 2010
Ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Two partners of a well-known Indian restaurant have each been fined £4,000 for breaching fire regulations after a blaze at the premises.
Plymouth magistrates told Taklus Hussain and Faizul Hoque they were ‘horrified’ at safety breaches at Mutley Spice. They heard that smoke alarms at Mutley Spice were inadequate and stairwells leading to flats above were blocked. The court was told that the fire was only spotted when a passer-by saw smoke.
Presiding magistrate Diana Greene said: “We were horrified at the extent of your non-compliance. If a random passer-by had not seen the smoke the outcome could have been extremely different. It hardly bears thinking about.”
Magistrates fined them both a total of £4,000 and ordered that they pay £2,300 each in prosecution costs. Part of the basement restaurant was seriously damaged but nobody was hurt in the fire last November.
Hussain, aged 57, and Hoque, aged 48, admitted four breaches of fire regulations which put people at risk of death or serious injury on or before November 23 last year. Hussain and Hoque, both of Mutley, admitted not carrying out a proper fire risk assessment and not giving staff proper training.
They also admitted not having suitable detectors and alarms and not keeping exits clear from the domestic premises at the three-storey building.
Kingsley Keat, prosecuting for the Devon and Fire Rescue Authority, said that a fire started when a member of staff left a heater on at about 5pm on November 23. He added that the risk was not to any customers who may have been in the restaurant but to members of staff who stayed in the flats above the restaurant in Mutley Plain. The court heard that the fire brigade were called by a passer-by.
Mr Keat said that the stairwells to the upper floors were cluttered with boxes, pots and other items.
He added that the building was not fitted with adequate commercial standard smoke detectors and fire alarms.
Anthony Dyke, for both men, said that the offences happened through ignorance and were not a deliberate breach of the law. He added that the restaurant itself was largely compliant with fire regulations but the mistake the directors made was allowing staff to stay overnight in the accommodation upstairs.