Judge grants leniency for guilty pleas, lesser responsibility
By Daryl Slade, Calgary Herald
Choudhury operated under the business name Oh! Calcutta
CALGARY — There was no sympathy on Tuesday for a co-owner of a company that operated a southwest restaurant that repeatedly violated Public Health Act regulations and endangered the health and safety of customers.
“It is clear that your pursuit of financial benefit was put ahead of your consideration of the rights and the human dignity of those residents of the premises and the food safety of the customers of the restaurant,” provincial court Judge George Gaschler told Salauddin Choudhury before meting out $26,450 in fines.
“This is utterly deplorable and deserving of the strong sanction that has been recommended to the court.”
Court heard the second-floor and basement suites had been condemned as unfit for human habitation because of numerous safety infractions, including windows far too small for emergency egress, massive mould, a leaking roof and some 15 to 20 centimetres of raw sewage on the basement floor from a sewage backup.
Gashchler then recommended the joint sentencing submission presented by prosecutor Rob O’Neill and defence lawyer Rob Bagga.
Choudhury, co-owner of Oh! Calcutta, which operated the Wicked Chili restaurant at 507 17th Ave. S.W., had spent a week in jail after failing to show up for his trial on April 16.
He remained in custody so he would attend his trial starting on Monday but, after meeting with Bagga just after O’Neill had begun his case, he changed his mind and pleaded guilty to 20 charges related to the restaurant, two suites upstairs and another in the basement.