Introduction and Facts
Many religions, including Islam, have dietary rules. Many muslims adhere to rules that require meat to be halal, and there are various bodies that can certify that food as being halal.
Between January 2013 and October 2014 a company called ‘Dutch Bangla Ltd’ supplied various businesses (mainly in the Leicestershire area) with what they said was halal lamb.
However, it transpired that the meat that was being sold on was in fact ground up turkey, which was not halal. It was not the question of an oversight, or misunderstanding, forged halal-certification documents were found as well.
This was a substantial operation – the profits involved were £300,000-400,000, and more than 100 tonnes of meat was supplied. The company itself was acquitted, but two of its directors Mahmudur Rohman (46) and Kamal Rahman (54) were convicted of conspiracy to defraud in March 2017.
On 20th April 2017, they were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment each (as well as concurrent sentences for lesser regulatory offences, and perverting the course of justice in the case of Mr Rahman).
It is not clear whether there will be confiscation proceedings or not.
The starting point is the Sentencing Guidelines (page 6). The figures aren’t clear, but we would take the profit figures of the company, which puts it as a Category 2 offence. The Culpability would be high because of the sophisticated nature of the offending, and the period of time.
This gives a rough sentence of 5-6 years, which is effectively what both got.
Sentencing for financial offences (well, all offences actually) have gone up and up recently, and we would have thought that the meat would have been passed on for sale as halal when it was not would have been a seriously aggravating feature.
It may well be that were it not for that, then there were other factors that would have lead to a lower sentence. We won’t know without the sentencing remarks, but we would not be expecting an appeal. If anything, we would have expected slightly longer given that there was a trial, the nature of the offending, and the other charges.