‘Slug gate’: Well being Division defends I Prepare dinner Meals closure

September 2, 2023by Naomi Cramer


Attorneys appearing for Victoria’s Division of Well being have defended a choice to shutter a catering firm over an allegedly contaminated sandwich.

I Prepare dinner Meals Pty Ltd founder Ian Prepare dinner is suing Victoria’s Division of Well being and Human Providers for $50m, claiming his enterprise was destroyed by the pressured closure in February 2019.

Victoria’s then appearing chief well being officer Brett Sutton ordered the enterprise to quickly shut on February 21 amid fears of a listeria outbreak after the loss of life of an aged Knox Non-public Hospital affected person on February 4.I Prepare dinner Meals provided meals to the hospital.

In his order, Dr Sutton stated he couldn’t be assured that the enterprise’s kitchen was appropriate for meals manufacturing.

Over a month-long trial earlier than the Victorian Supreme Court, Mr Prepare dinner has claimed Dr Sutton couldn’t have been glad to the requisite normal there was a danger posed by his enterprise.

Court - BRETT SUTTON
Digital camera IconI Prepare dinner founder Ian Prepare dinner has sat in court all through the civil trial. NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty Credit score: Information Corp Australia

It’s claimed Dr Sutton had already determined to shut the kitchen earlier than all testing outcomes had been obtained.

It’s alleged Dr Sutton acted with “reckless indifference”, denying Mr Prepare dinner procedural equity and the precise to answer considerations.

Mr Prepare dinner’s counsel, Marcus Clarke KC, has beforehand instructed the court that the order “destroyed” his client’s enterprise and led to hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in losses.

Delivering his closing remarks on Thursday, counsel appearing for the Well being Division, Christopher Caleo KC, argued there was no proper for procedural equity, and if there was, the “urgency” of the choice restricted that proper.

He argued the proof indicated Dr Sutton had “fastidiously” addressed his statutory responsibility and was glad I Prepare dinner Meals’ meals had been prone to danger bodily hurt if he didn’t act.

“Dr Sutton gave, we are saying, very cogent proof why he could possibly be, and certainly was, glad,” he stated.

The court was instructed Dr Sutton was “devastated” in making the order, figuring out the impression it will have on the enterprise.

HEALTH PRESSER
Digital camera IconFormer chief well being officer Brett Sutton defended his resolution to shut the corporate when he was known as to present proof earlier this month. NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie Credit score: Information Corp Australia

Mr Caleo argued there was no obligation to supply Mr Prepare dinner an opportunity to answer considerations, saying the choice was to permit doubtlessly contaminated meals to be produced and distributed.

He instructed the court that earlier than February 21 Mr Prepare dinner, his son and co-owner Ben Prepare dinner, or each knew a affected person had grow to be sick, optimistic samples had been taken and council officers had ordered steps be taken to treatment sanitary points.

“In these circumstances what obligation existed on the a part of Dr Sutton,” Mr Caleo stated.

“Throughout proof the one matter to which reference was made on a couple of event was their need to have a duplicate of the lab experiences, one should ask why?

“They’d been instructed not solely that it was listeria, however that it was listeria monocytogenes.”

SLUG TRUCK
Digital camera IconMr Prepare dinner (left) has demanded solutions as to why his enterprise was closed. NCA NewsWire / Paul Jeffers Credit score: Information Corp Australia

The court was instructed the micro organism that causes listeria infections, listeria monocytogenes, was detected in six of seven meals samples taken from the premises on February 18.

I Prepare dinner Meals, which had operated for 35 years, held contracts with Meals on Wheels and hospitals that had been cancelled after the well being order was made.

The court was instructed Dandenong Metropolis officers had already ordered the enterprise to take steps to treatment what it deemed an unsanitary and unclean office, however the council’s chief govt was not ready to make a closure order.

The long-running authorized struggle was dubbed “Slug Gate” within the media over allegations a well being inspector planted a backyard slug in I Prepare dinner Meals’ kitchen in early 2019.

Dandenong Metropolis was initially additionally named as a defendant within the declare, however the matter was settled exterior of court earlier than the trial started on August 2.

The trial, earlier than Justice Michael McDonald, will hear closing arguments from Mr Clarke on Friday.



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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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