Court publishes defense of Royal Yacht Hotel

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The Royal Yacht Hotel. Photo: ROB CURRIE. (30795723)

The hotel was fined £ 350,000 last Friday for keeping its spa facilities – including the pool, sauna and steam room – open last year in what the prosecution described as a ” flagrant violation ”of regulations imposed to stop the spread of the virus.

However, unlike usual practice, the hotel was allowed to give its mitigation – the reasons it broke the law and the associated arguments – in writing, so it was not heard in open court. and was therefore effectively submitted in secret.

In its editorial on Wednesday, the newspaper called the situation an affront to the principles of open justice and called for full disclosure. The documents were released yesterday after a formal request was made by the JEP.

Following their release, it can be reported that the hotel argued that the prosecution’s requested fine of £ 425,000 was disproportionate as the Crown had taken the financial performance figures of the company as a starting point. hotel of the year before the pandemic. .

The hotel said that in March-February 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, the hotel’s turnover was £ 13,422,630 and £ 13,347,524 respectively. In contrast, the court heard, turnover between March 2020 and February 2021 was £ 4,856,894, down 64%.

The Crown has sought to set the fine at 20% of pre-tax profits for the year before the pandemic, which the defense has called “arbitrary” and “totally unfair”.

“The defendant does not deny a violation, but he strongly disagrees that the violation should be labeled” flagrant and persistent, “the written submission reads.

While stressing that senior management took responsibility for the breaches, the communication states that they were visited by the enforcement authorities who verified that the rules were being followed and found no fault. He said the spa was “open”, “not hidden” or “done in camera”. Any investigation, he insisted, would have “revealed that they were open.”

“Unfortunately, senior management thought they knew the correct position after looking at the government website, but they were wrong. They admit that they made a mistake and that is why they pleaded guilty and were fully cooperative, ”the communication said, adding that there was“ no deliberate intention to flout the laws or regulations of the Isle “.

At Friday’s court hearing, the prosecution said a member of hotel staff repeatedly questioned whether spa facilities should still be open because of Covid, but had always been assured that they could remain so.

The submission adds that the hotel has complied with evolving Covid regulations in many other ways and said it acted immediately once notified it was breaking the rules. It also says it provided accommodation for nurses “for free” during the first lockdown.

The hotel lawyer expressed concern about the delay in bringing the case to court for sentencing, complaining that her financial situation was “worse than it would have been if the ‘hearing had taken place earlier “.

The lawyer further argued that other companies fined for Covid-related offenses had been fined significantly less than the amount requested by the Crown. The bid said there was no financial motivation for the violation, repeating that it was “unintentional”.

The Royal Court did not provide any explanation as to why it allowed the written submission. The deputy bailiff, Robert MacRae, presided.


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