Shabana wins cut in court bill

Shabana Restaurant, Asdale Road, Durkar
Shabana Restaurant, Asdale Road, Durkar

A curry house which sold beef as lamb has won a cut in its £11,000 court bill after telling a judge how the huge fine could “cripple and close” the company.

Shabana Indian Lounge, of Sandal, appealed against a sentence imposed by Wakefield magistrates following a test purchase by Trading Standards last May.

A lamb bhuna and two kebabs were sent to the public analyst and tested positive for beef protein but negative for sheep protein.

The company admitted three offences under the Food Safety Act relating to described meals.

The company was originally fined £9,000 and ordered to pay £2,189 costs, plus a £120 victim surcharge.

But the company appealed that decision at Leeds Crown Court last Friday. Defence barrister Vincent Blake-Barnard told how the small family business had already paid £2,000 towards the fine but he said effectively that it was bankrupting the business.

He said the company wanted to accept its liability but the sheer amount involved at the moment “would cripple and close this company”.

The lawyer said it was a one-off test purchase and there had never been any concerns over hygiene. It had no previous warnings, convictions or notices.

Judge James Spencer QC, siting with magistrates, reduced the fine to £1,000. He also cut the costs to £1,000 but the victim surcharge was left in place.