The Council has taken a court action against the proprietor of Chinese Palace
THE proprietor of a Chinese restaurant on the southside of the city has denied allegations that fats, greases and oils (fogs) from the businesses were deliberately poured into a drain adjacent to the premises.
Limerick City and County Council has initiated court proceedings against Zo Xin Zhou arising from complaints relating to the Chinese Palace restaurant at Roxboro Shopping Centre.
Executive engineer Paul O’Grady told Limerick District Court the local authority received a complaint last year from the management company that staff from the restaurant were observed pouring fogs into an external drain which feeds into the public sewer network.
This, he said, could result in a blockage of the drainage system and had the potential to create a risk to public health.
Mr O’Grady said a further complaint was received in March of this year and that fogs were subsequently discovered in a drain in a service yard at the shopping centre.
He later attended and carried out an inspection of the drain.
“I lifted the drain covers and found fresh oils,” he said adding the defendant made admissions when questioned under caution with the assistance of a translator.
Solicitor Will Leahy said it is the local authority’s contention that the actions of the defendant were malicious and deliberate and that the fogs were deliberately poured down the drain.
However, solicitor Darach McCarthy said his client strongly denies this allegation.
“He did not pour them down deliberately,” he said.
“We accept there was a disposal (of fogs), we accept they were in the drain but it was negligent and unintentional,” he added.
“He did not pour them down deliberately, he accepts he should have been more careful,” he told Judge Marian O’Leary.
Mr McCarthy submitted that CCTV footage which was disclosed to him by the council does not show anybody pouring fats, oils or grease into a drain as is alleged.
“The footage doesn’t show anybody turning up any buckets,” he said adding that his client has now installed grease traps to ensure what happened will not happen again.
During heated exchanges, Mr Leahy said there is a “big difference between an accident and it being malicious,” and he submitted there is a conflict which the court needs to adjudicate on.
Mr McCarthy described the council’s contention that his client’s actions were deliberate as a “big leap” which cannot be substantiated.
He added that client was pleading guilty to the charge before the court but was disputing how the fogs got into the drainage system.
Judge O’Leary adjourned the matter to November 6, next.