The owner of the International Hotel, located on Burton Road, Derby, has admitted to serious breaches of fire regulations. Fire officers found 22 breaches, with 15 of these classed as “high priority”. Some of these offences included:
- Failing to keep emergency exits and routes clear
- Not providing emergency lighting to an adequate standard
- Failing to install a suitable fire management system
Mr Gurnham Singh Rai, pleaded guilty to four counts of failing to comply with fire regulations after a Fire Risk Assessment was carried out at the property last year. The maximum penalty a magistrate can impose on such offences is a fine. However, District Judge Jonathan Taaffe felt this was not sufficient and instead passed sentencing on to Derby Crown Court. The judge also gave Rai a warning that he could face a custodial sentence. He stated: “These matters should be taken to crown court for discussion. What is most significant in the matter is the number of people who have been put at risk by this failure to comply. I do not wish to sound overdramatic, but this really is a matter of life and death. I am duty bound to pass this matter to the crown court for consideration.”
Despite being given 28 days to make improvements, the court heard that the issues had gone on for over a year. Rai gave repeated assurances that the work would be done. However, it was later found that the work had come to a halt due to financial issues.
The court did hear that staff were given training in fire safety. However, they later found out that staff were only shown how to use a fire extinguisher which is seen as insufficient by the fire service. Rai has been released on bail until 22nd December, when he will be sentenced.