An Indian restaurant owner has been found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to prison for six years after serving a man with a severe peanut allergy a dish containing peanuts.
Mohammed Zaman, 53, is the owner of Indian Garden in Easingwold, England, along with five other restaurants, The Guardian reports. At Indian Garden, Zaman decided to use ground peanuts in his recipes rather than almond powder, in order to cut costs. This decision eventually proved to be incredibly dangerous for one man.
Paul Wilson, 38, ordered takeout curry from Indian Garden one night in January 2014, and he reportedly informed the staff of his severe peanut allergy to ensure that it would be safe to eat their food.
After eating his chicken tikka masala, Wilson suffered severe anaphylactic shock. He was found dead, slumped over the toilet in his Helperby home.
Following Wilson's death, Zaman has been convicted of gross negligence manslaughter and sentenced to six years in jail. A jury made the decision to convict the restaurant owner after he admitted to swapping almond powder in his recipes for a cheaper mix of ground nuts, which he reportedly knew contained peanuts.
Prosecutors said Zaman was over $400,000 in debt from the six restaurants he owns and he tried to save money by using cheaper ingredients and hiring illegal, untrained workers.
Three weeks prior to Wilson's death, a teenaged girl who ate at another restaurant owned by Zaman reportedly suffered a severe allergic reaction to peanuts, for which she was hospitalized. She was also told that her food would not contain any traces of peanut.
Prosecutor Richard Wright QC said Wilson informed the staff multiple times that his meal must not contain nuts. He added that the staff had written "no nuts" on the lid of his curry container.
"Mohammed Zaman received numerous warnings that he was putting his customers’ health, and potentially their lives, at risk," Wright said in court, according to The Guardian. "Tragically for Paul Wilson, Mohammed Zaman took none of those opportunities and ignored all of the warnings he was given."
"His was a reckless and cavalier attitude to risk and one that we, the prosecution, would describe as grossly negligent," Wright added.