Peanut Fatality: Sentencing Appeal Dismissed

The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in R v Mohammed Khalique Zaman [2017] EWCA Crim 1783. A waiter had erroneously informed a customer with a peanut allergy that his curry did not contain peanuts. The customer subsequently died and during the investigation, restaurant stock described as almonds had been found to contain peanuts. The defendant restaurant owner was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. In sentencing, the Crown Court Judge had found that the use of peanut-based ingredients was a cost cutting exercise. Further, the defendant had failed over a period of months to put in place a process to ensure that customers allergic to peanuts were not served with dishes containing them. An aggravating feature was that on an earlier occasion, at one of his other restaurants, a customer had suffered a severe allergic reaction after eating food containing peanuts, yet the defendant had not improved his systems thereafter.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the defendant’s appeal against sentence. Sentencing for gross negligence manslaughter was fact specific, and this was in line with other cases.