The owner of a wedding venue has been jailed for 20 months because of his failure to take general fire precautions to ensure the safety of his employees and the public.
Mohammed Isaq failed to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 at the 16th-century, Grade One-listed Haslington Hall in Cheshire. He was also found guilty of failing to comply with both enforcement and prohibition notices.
Isaq, and the company of which he was the majority shareholder, were accused of:
- placing the venue’s staff and visitors at risk of death and serious injury in case of fire;
- failure to review fire risk assessments following a decision to use the second floor of the main hall as sleeping accommodation;
- inadequate fire detectors, alarms, firefighting equipment, escape routes, signage for emergency routes and exits; and
- a lack of fire safety training provision for employees.
Following an inspection by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, an enforcement notice was issued to get the venue to an acceptable fire safety standard. Although some work was subsequently undertaken, it was not considered sufficient.
Later, firefighters checked a venue in the grounds of Haslington Hall and issued a prohibition notice, but Isaq ignored it and continued to hold events.
The court heard that the defendant had previously been found guilty of fire safety offences at the same venue and was ordered to pay fines and costs of almost £24,000.
Sentencing Judge Roger Dutton said: “A more flagrant breach of the legislation there cannot be in my view. You simply ignored many of the important aspects of the enforcement notices and completely ignored two prohibition notices, there to ensure the public is not placed at risk.”
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