Andrea Parnham successfully responds to appeal against sentence in “fire trap” hotel caseAndrea Parnham
Andrea’s response, against a leading QC for the appellant, saw the appeal dismissed – upholding the substantial fine of £110,000, plus £2,863 prosecution costs and a £120 statutory surcharge.
The Lion & Lamb Inn, a grade II listed building in the heart of York, was found to be in breach of fire safety regulations upon an inspection in March 2017. The inspection resulted in the hotel’s closure that same month until the breaches had been rectified. This followed several warnings from fire alarm engineers since 2016, with one guest describing the hotel to investigators as a “firetrap”.
Fire safety deficiencies included an out-of-action fire alarm, faulty fire doors, and dated emergency fire procedures. The company managing the hotel at the time, SlopingTactics Ltd of Halifax, initially disputed that they had delayed replacing the fire alarm for financial reasons or had ignored fire safety.
In the Magistrates’ Court, back in January this year, the company pleaded guilty to three charges of breaching the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
The appeal against sentence was brought on the basis that the fine imposed was too high and therefore manifestly excessive.
David Travers QC of 6 Pump Court, London for the appellant company submitted that the hotel was tendering for a new fire alarm system before the closure and had a night porter making regular checks of the building.
Judge Andrew Stubbs QC, sitting with two magistrates in York Crown Court last Friday, dismissed the appeal, taking particular note of the profit amassed amidst the company’s awareness of poor fire safety conditions that carried an imminent risk of death or serious injury for hotel guests, staff and local residents.
Andrea was instructed by the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service (“NYFRS”) and North Yorkshire County Council. The case has been followed closely by the local press from the initial conviction to Friday’s appeal hearing:
Further coverage from the Fire Industry Association and NYFRS can be found via the following links:
Andrea is quickly forging a successful career both prosecuting and defending in regulatory cases. Andrea was called to the Bar after an 11-year career in the police service involving operational, investigative and executive roles. She was a detective and attained the rank of inspector. Her experience has helped shape her exceptional people skills and her forensic approach to detail in cases.