THE former owners of a shisha lounge in Bradford have been found guilty of a string of charges related to breaching the smoking ban.
When Bradford Council officers visited Pasha Shisha Lounge on several occasions last year they found numerous people inside the property smoking shisha pipes.
The company that then ran the Edderthorpe Street business, Indulge Cafe, was charged with six charges relating to failing to enforce the smoking ban in an enclosed space and health and safety issues.
The company was found guilty on Friday, but went into voluntary liquidation last month. A decision about how to proceed with the case in light of the company being wound up will be made later this week.
Pasha is still trading, but is now run by a new company - Elegant Bradford Lounge Limited.
Introduced in 2007, the smoking ban makes it illegal to smoke in an enclosed work place. The rule applies to shisha bars, with smoking only allowed in an open area or terrace.
Nobody from Indulge attended Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court on Friday, but the case was heard anyway. District Judge Richard Clews found the company guilty of all charges.
They were three charges of failing to prevent smoking in smoke-free premises, failing to discharge general health, safety and welfare duty to employee, contravening a health and safety improvement notice and failing to discharge the general health/safety duty to person other than employee
District Judge Clews will decide later this week how to progress with the case in light of the fact that the company no longer exists.
Two former members of Indulge, Mohammed Alahi and a Mr Razman, have previously been prosecuted over the breaches in March.
Aneeka Sarwar, prosecuting, said the decision has been made to also prosecute the company to show Bradford Council was tough on businesses that flouted the law.
Mr Clews spent a significant amount of time weighing up whether it was right to proceed with the case. He eventually said: “You could get a case where any company being prosecuted will just think ‘hang on, this will cost us a fair bit’, dissolve, wait for everything to die down and then start up in a different guise.”
The court was told that Council and HMRC officers visited Pasha on February 28 2018. There they saw people “with shisha pipes held to their mouths, exhaling smoke into the air.” 70 shisha pipes were found in the kitchen, leading to HMRC officers seizing the pipes.
An improvement notice was served on the business and management was asked to attend an interview on March 26. Nobody from the company attended.
On June 20 officers attended the business again and found 22 people smoking shisha indoors. When they asked staff if they could speak to the manager they told them he was out shopping.
At a return visit the next day people were once again seen smoking shisha indoors.
Mr Clews said: “There is enough evidence before me to prove these allegations.”
He will decide on how to proceed on Thursday.