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19 February 2012

Hotel and director fined 210,000 in landmark fire safety trial

A London hotel has had to pay more than 260,000 in fines and costs in what is believed to be the first jury trial of a case under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The Chumleigh Lodge Hotel Limited and its sole director, Michael Wilson, had pleaded not guilty to a total of 12 offences under the Fire Safety Order. The trial took place at Blackfriars Crown Court between 28 November and 6 December 2011 and sentencing was on Monday 6 February.

Following the blaze, fire safety inspectors visited the hotel and raised a number of concerns. These included defective fire doors, blocked escape routes and no smoke alarms in some of the hotel’s bedrooms. Mr Wilson was also unable to produce a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment and was found not to have provided staff with adequate fire safety training.

The fine was divided between the individual defendant, Michael Wilson (180,000) and the corporate defendant, Chumleigh Lodge Hotel Limited (30,000). The defendants were further ordered to pay prosecution costs of 50,000, and compensation of 2,000 to the guest who escaped through a second floor window.

“Business owners have a clear responsibility under fire safety law to ensure that both the public and their employees are as safe as possible from the risk of fire,” said Brian Coleman, chairman of London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

“This verdict sends out a clear message that if these responsibilities are ignored we will not hesitate in prosecuting and people will face serious penalties.”

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Latest news from JNS Safety Solutions plus other articles relating to health and safety
Latest news from JNS Safety Solutions plus other articles relating to health and safety