News

New Malden butcher prosecuted for safety failures that cost a man his hand

A butcher in New Malden, whose safety breaches led to a young man losing his hand in a mincing machine, was sentenced to seven months in prison, suspended for 18 months, at Kingston Crown Court today (4 April).

A butcher in New Malden, whose safety breaches led to a young man losing his hand in a mincing machine, was sentenced to seven months in prison, suspended for 18 months, at Kingston Crown Court.

Malik Raza, owner of Surrey Halal Meat in Kingston Road, was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on 4 April after pleading guilty to two charges including failing to ensure safety at work and failing to report a work-related accident to the relevant authorities.

In court, Raza was also ordered to pay £75,000 in compensation to the victim, Mr Imad Amin, as well as a £140 victim impact surcharge and undertake 100 hours of unpaid work.

Mr Amin, who was 19 at the time of the accident on Saturday 11 February 2017, was at the shop, mincing meat, when his hand got drawn into the mincing machine because the protective guard plate had been removed. Ambulance staff could not free Mr Amin from the machine and were forced to call the London Fire Brigade, who cut parts of the machine away. Due to the severity of his injuries, his hand had to be amputated.

Kingston Council’s investigation established that the guard plate of the mincing machine had been removed to allow for quicker mincing. Raza also failed to report the incident to the council and had been using Mr Amin as cheap labour without proper training to use the equipment. Investigators also found Raza’s Employer’s Liability Insurance Certificate to have a start date of 20 days after the accident.

The council only became aware of the accident when Raza gave press interviews claiming Mr Amin was a pushy customer who got himself injured after trying to mince meat without authorisation. Mr Amin, however, was able to provide detailed knowledge of the shop’s layout to prove that Raza had been putting him to work on the machines and in the butchery there, and that he was not a customer. Raza dropped allegations that Mr Amin was trying to steal meat and changed his plea to guilty a month before the case was due to go to trial.

Previously in 2009, Kingston Council had written to Raza drawing his attention to various safety issues, including the requirement to report such accidents. 

Councillor David Ryder-Mills, portfolio holder for contract monitoring and corporate services, said: 

“I am really pleased with today’s outcome. It is a clear message that we will take action against those who break the law. Raza was aware of the safety standards required and didn’t have the necessary insurance should an accident happen. 

“He chose to exploit cheap labour by having a young man with no proper training operate his machines. His motivation was to maximise his business profits whilst avoiding costs, which has left a teenager with horrific, life-changing injuries.”