The passing of sentence today by HHJ Kerr QC in the food hygiene prosecution by Belfast City Council of Flicks Restaurant brings to a successful conclusion the criminal proceedings which arose from Northern Ireland's largest outbreak of e. Coli O157.
The outbreak in 2012 in fact comprised 2 episodes in August and October that year. Whilst there were 4 confirmed primary cases of e. Coli O157 in August and a further 141 in October, there were many more secondary and linked cases. There were 19 primary cases admitted to hospital.
Anthony Vines has been advising the City Council since the outset and was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in order to prosecute the case at the Laganside Courts. He was assisted by Owain Rhys James,
The case relied heavily upon the expert evidence of Gordon Hayburn and the late Dr Louise Fielding.
The food business operator, Moviehouse Cinemas (Yorkgate) Limited, pleaded guilty to all 11 counts on the indictment. The offending, which extended over a 6-month period, included the failure of the restaurant to have an adequate HACCP or food safety management system, poor hygiene practices, inadequate training and failures by the food business operator to protect food against the risks of cross-contamination.
HHJ Kerr QC stated that Moviehouse had shown "a blatant disregard for the food safety standards and therefore for the safety of its customers." The company received a fine of £110,000.
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29 April 2015