A takeaway boss was jailed for manslaughter of a schoolgirl who suffered an allergic reaction has won an appeal against his conviction.
Mohammed Abdul Kuddus was given a two-year jail sentence in November over the death of 15-year-old Megan Lee, after she ordered a meal from his Royal Spice takeaway using the Just Eat delivery website in 2016.
She wrote “prawns, nuts” to highlight her allergies yet the meal contained peanut proteins.
Court of Appeal judges, sitting in London, quashed his “unsafe” conviction for gross negligence manslaughter.
Megan suffered a severe allergic reaction and died in hospital two days later on New Year’s Day 2017.
A Home Office pathologist concluded her death was caused by a fatal asthma attack precipitated by an allergic reaction to nuts.
Kuddus, the sole director of the takeaway,was convicted of manslaughter by a jury at Manchester Crown Court in October last year, along with manager Harun Rashid, who had previously sold the business to him.
Three leading judges allowed an appeal by Kuddus, of Belper Street, Blackburn, ruling that his manslaughter conviction “cannot stand”.
Sir Brian Leveson, announcing the decision, said Megan’s order, including the comment about nuts and prawns, was seen by Rashid.
There was “no evidence” that the order printout or comments on her order were “seen by or passed on to” Kuddus.
Sir Brian said: “He knew nothing of the allergy which she had declared. “In those circumstances, the conviction for gross negligence manslaughter cannot stand.”
Although the appeal judges overturned Kuddus’ conviction, Sir Brian warned: “There is now a general awareness of the potential risks to those who suffer from allergies and, as a result, it should be understood that the courts will rigorously scrutinise the way in which restaurants discharge the duty of care that they owe such customers.”
Rashid, of Rudd Street, Haslingden, was jailed for a total of three years.
Sir Brian said no application had been made for a retrial against him on the manslaughter charge.