QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE MCCOMBE
|TESCO STORES LIMITED||(CLAIMANT)|
|LONDON BOROUGH OF HARROW||(DEFENDANT)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR P MILLER (instructed by LONDON BOROUGH OF HARROW LEGAL SERVICES) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
"No prosecution for an offence under this Act which is punishable under section 35(2) below shall be begun after the expiry of -
(a) three years from the commission of the offence; or
(b) one year from its discovery by the prosecutor, whichever is the earlier."
"The question for the opinion of the High Court is whether we were correct in concluding that discovery of the offence by the prosecutor did not take place on 19th February 2001 and that the prosecution was therefore not time-barred?"
"Rang home number and spoke to wife. Purchased baps last week and when opened there was a piece of wire within it."
It was then recorded that Mrs Shah did not know any other details and a message was left for Mr Shah to make contact.
"We did not consider it necessary to rule on the Respondent's contention that discovery of the offence was not complete until April [which must mean April 23rd]."
"All the facts material to found the relevant charge under the Act were disclosed to the appropriate officer."
"I think it is sufficient for the purposes of this case, to say that the word "discovery" means no more in this context than that all the facts material to found the relevant charge under the Act were disclosed to the appropriate officer. The word "discovery" here does not import any investigation by the officer. It is simply his knowledge, from disclosure to him in some way, of the material facts which would found the offence."
"That on 15th February 2001 Tesco Stores Ltd, Harrow, did sell for human consumption, food, namely, a white bread roll, which failed to comply with food safety requirements in that it was so contaminated that it would not be reasonable to expect it to be used for human consumption..."
"We were of the opinion that the receipt of the message on 19th February did not amount to discovery of the offence by the prosecutor. The quality of that information was poor. Mr Le Brun did not discuss the matter properly with Mr Shah until 23rd February. It was not until that date that Mr Le Brun saw, and took possession of, the roll containing the wire."
"This bench has focused on the quality of that information and whether it is sufficient to meet the requirements under section 34(b) of the FSA. We conclude that it is not sufficient and that no detailed discussion took place between Mr Le Brun and Mr Shah."
"The issue that the magistrates had to decide was, at the least, the first date when the prosecutor knew that someone was alleging the existence of the primary facts which are set out in the summons".
"I am not sure that discovery involves more than a discovery of the fact that an allegation is made that various facts are true. I am not presently convinced that it is necessary for the prosecution actually to know the truth as best they can from their own knowledge of each of those facts".
Those remarks, with respect, seem to me entirely in accord with the view that we have both formed.