Chinese restaurant boss faces trial over hygiene charges
THE owner of one of Swindon’s best-known Chinese restaurants will fight 14 food hygiene charges at a trial scheduled to last two days.
Connie Yap, who has traded as Connie’s for more than three decades, will defend her business at Swindon Magistrates’ Court.
The 57-year-old did not attend the court yesterday for a hearing to fix a trial date.
The case is likely to hear evidence from seven witnesses and involve expert evidence.
Prosecutor Phil Wirth said: “Our estimate is that it will take at least a day to get through the evidence and the court will want time to deliberate.
“There may also be some kind of legal argument which is why we thought we go into a second day, or at least half a day.”
Asked by magistrates why the case, relating a council inspection in December 2011, had taken so long to proceed to trial, Mr Wirth referred to the vast amount of evidence involved.
He said: “These investigations are very complex. It involves a number of visits to the premises.
“As you can see my evidence file is two inches thick. Unfortunately these investigations tend to be that way.
“There are a large number of charges and it does take a while to get to court.
“It would have been to court before but Mrs Yap had surgery just before Christmas and wasn’t able to get to court.”
Magistrates fixed the trial date for May 13 and 14.
Yap, of Rushey Platt, faces allegations that include failing to follow procedures related to storage, allowing grease and food waste to accumulate behind a wok and allowing a wash hand basin to become mouldy and obstructed by other objects.
She pleaded not guilty to all the counts at an earlier hearing.
The restaurant was launched more than 30 years ago in Devizes Road and has continued trading through the preliminary court hearings. Yap set up her venture after leaving the former Bamboo House, in Marlborough, which is still acclaimed by some as the town's finest Chinese restaurant.