D'Souza death restaurant acquittal upheld

Court of Cassation says Lotus Garden Cafeteria is not responsible for the food poisoning deaths of two children in 2009.
DUBAI // The Dubai Court of Cassation yesterday acquitted the Lotus Garden Cafeteria, which had twice before been cleared in the food poisoning deaths of two children in 2009.

Dubai's highest court upheld the ruling issued by the Court of Appeal in which an Iraqi doctor, the cafeteria's Nepalese chef and his Filipino supervisor received six-month suspended prison sentences and were fined Dh20,000 each.

The court had also ordered them to jointly pay Dh400,000 in blood money to the parents of Chelsea and Nathan D'Souza, aged eight and five.

Advocate Hussain Al Banai, who represented the Lotus Garden, argued that the municipality gathered samples from the restaurant's rubbish rather than the kitchen - from which the two children ate a meal in the hours before they fell ill.

He said 120 people who ate the same food on the same day as Chelsea, Nathan and their family were examined and were healthy. He added that the food samples showing harmful bacteria were taken from the rubbish, and that the bacteria found in the samples was in a non-fatal dose.

Lower courts had found that the two restaurant staff breached hygiene standards in the way they stored food, which allowed bacteria to grow and made the children ill. It found the doctor, who worked at NMC Hospital, negligent in her treatment of the children.

The children, their mother and their housemaid ate takeaway food from the restaurant at 7.30pm on June 13, 2009. By 2am, they had all begun feeling sick and started vomiting.

salamir@thenational.ae

Published: August 16, 2011 04:00 AM

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