Poultry distributor from Halifax says he was “innocent victim”

Bradford Crown Court
Bradford Crown Court
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A poultry distributor accused of running an illegal and filthy meat cutting plant in Bradford has told a jury the business was nothing to do with him.

Halifax man Majid Zaman, 34, insisted today (Wednesday) that he had sub-let the industrial unit at Iron Works Park, Bowling Back Lane, to a man called Karmat Sajid before the premises were raided in September 2013.

When health officials and Border Agency officers went to the unit they found workers in dirty clothing cutting up chicken carcasses inside the unapproved and unhygienic premises.

Married father Zaman, of Parkinson Lane, Halifax, has denied being the boss of the meat cutting plant along with a dozen charges relating to food safety and hygiene breaches.

Under cross-examination by prosecutor Howard Shaw Zaman agreed that whoever was running the business was doing so with complete disregard for any aspects of food hygiene.

“On your account you’re a completely innocent victim in this,” said Mr Shaw.

“Yes I am,” replied Zaman.

Zaman, who runs poultry distribution firm Shariah Foods, said it was the first time he had been involved in letting a unit and he had been hoping to make 100 per cent profit by sub-letting the premises to two tenants.

He said that in mid July 2013 a shopkeeper had pointed him out to Karmat Sajid because he was looking for premises for a butchery business.

But Mr Shaw highlighted the fact that in May 2013 a company called West Yorkshire Meat, Lamb and Poultry had been registered with an address at the unit in Bradford.

Zaman insisted that he had nothing to do with West Yorkshire Meat, Lamb and Poultry Ltd, but Mr Shaw suggested it was a “massive coincidence” that the firm had been registered at the unit a few months before the defendant met Mr Sajid for the first time.

Zaman said his vehicles were seen at the unit because he was supplying chickens and he suggested that was the reason why workers at the premises could have had his mobile number as a “contact”.

During questioning by his own barrister Frida Hussain Zaman denied that he had been “evasive” when being questioned by officials.

“Where you the operator of what was going on at unit two?” asked Miss Hussain.

“No,” said Zaman.

“Did you have anything to do with the business that was being run from unit two?” she asked.

“No,” replied Zaman.

The trial continues.