The owner of a wedding venue has been jailed for 20 months following a sentencing hearing at Chester Crown Court on 8 June 2018 due to his failure to take general fire precautions to ensure the safety of employees and the general public.
Mr Isaq pleaded guilty to nine charges which relate to a failure to comply with the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, failure to comply with an enforcement notice and failure to comply with two prohibition notices at the 16th century grade one listed Haslington Hall in Cheshire. His company, Haslington Hall Ltd of which he was the major shareholder also admitted the same breaches.
Mr Isaq and the company 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 for staff.
Following an inspection by Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, an enforcement notice was issued to get the venue to an acceptable level of compliance. In addition two prohibition notices were issued in respect of the use of a structure in the grounds of Haslington Hall known as “The Big Marquee” used for weddings and similar events. This notice was ignored by Mr Isaq who continued to use the marquee on at least three further occasions whilst prohibited from doing so.
At the sentencing hearing on 8th June at Chester Crown Court, 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”.
Laura Shirley, Regulatory Solicitor, comments “This case demonstrates the importance of complying fully with enforcement notices and prohibition notices and the increasing risk of custodial sentences for cases at the most serious end of the sentencing scale.”