03:30PM, Friday 06 December 2019
Two company directors who turned a car park into a shisha bar have been fined.
Ghulam Qadir Butt, 33, and Mohammad Yasir Khurshid, 41, turned a former office car park into the coffee and shisha bar.
A hearing was held at Reading Magistrates’ Court where the directors of The Palm Lounge, in Park Street, Butt and Khurshid were convicted under Section 8 of the Health Act 2006 for failing to prevent smoking on the premises.
The pair did not attend the hearing and it was dealt with in their absence on November 15.
Premises open to the public are required to be smoke free in all enclosed and substantially enclosed areas. Smoking in premises which are open to the public, or a place of work, is contrary to the requirements of the Smoke-free Regulations 2006 and Health Act 2006.
The court was told that customers at The Palm Lounge were smoking shisha pipes when a joint operational visit was made by the authorities, with support from Thames Valley Police, on March 21, 2019.
The magistrates said they were satisfied that it was a sheltered building for the purposes of the act and found the defendants guilty as they had not stopped customers from smoking within.
The bench also said they were concerned the defendants had failed to take notice of the advice and warnings given by the council’s environmental health officer, or attend any legal interviews, including the court case.
Each director was fined £2,500, the maximum penalty, ordered to pay £2,628 costs, and a victim surcharge of £170.
Sarah Hill, senior environmental health officer, said: “Shisha is just a different way of smoking and is just as harmful as smoking other forms of tobacco. It is not a safe alternative to cigarettes.”
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