Mansfield takeaway owner who 'risked death of customers' banned from owning restaurants

A Mansfield Woodhouse restaurant owner who "risked the life and death of his customers" has been banned from managing food businesses for life.

Gia Kamali, 44, of Byron Street, Mansfield, had showed a "flagrant disregard for the law" according to Judge Sally Hancox, saying that his attitude towards food safety provisions presented a "very high risk of harm and potential illness" to his customers.

Mirch Massala, on Station Street, Mansfield Woodhouse.

Mirch Massala, on Station Street, Mansfield Woodhouse.

The judge said she was minded to send him to prison after reading the case notes and seeing that this was the third time he had been before the court for safety offences at his premises, Mirch Massala, on Station Street.

However, he narrowly avoided a custodial sentence when she reduced the jail term to a suspended sentence in view of the fact that the business was now closed and no longer presented a risk to the public, and that his wife and children needed him at home.

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The judge heard that Kamali had failed to change his food hygiene practices despite being advised to do so by council Environmental Health officers "time and time again".

The food hygiene breaches were uncovered when council Environmental Health Officers visited Mirch Massala in March 2018 and found there was no running hot water at the premises due to a boiler fire.

Inadequate handwashing facilities has been provided for staff and the arrangements for cleaning equipment were unsatisfactory.

The officers observed how the staff were preparing food and were concerned that without adequate handwashing facilities there were risks that ready-to-eat food, such as salads, could be contaminated by raw meat.

Environmental health officers served a hygiene notice to immediately stop the premises from serving ready to eat food which would not be cooked, or food which could be contaminated after cooking.

This visit came after previous visits which had found various failings and which Kamali had been instructed to rectify. The court heard he failed to provide hot running water so staff could wash their hands, adequate facilities to clean utensils, or to put permanent hygiene procedures in place.

After the case, David Evans, the council's Head of Health and Communities, said: "The council takes its responsibilities for checking food hygiene in local restaurants very seriously and we are pleased that the courts do also - as this case clearly demonstrates.

"No one wants to go for a meal and risk ending up with food poisoning. It is vital that businesses employ the correct procedures and take seriously the advice they may be given by council officers. It’s both in their interests and the interests of their customers to do so."

Kamali was given a 10-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, for each of the three convictions of failing to comply with food safety regulations and one offence of failing to comply with an improvement notice. The sentences run concurrently.

The judge ordered Kamali to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and made an order preventing him from becoming involved in the management of any food business.