The news in 2020 and 2021 has been dominated by the issue of SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19 disease. Dr Belinda Stuart-Moonlight has received requests for expert reports in a wide variety of cases including risks of placing elderly people in care homes, not removing vulnerable people from prisons and risks associated with the workplace. It is anticipated that COVID-related litigation will continue, and Belinda is able to consider further instructions in this novel and fast-moving field.Water Company Case – June 2021
Dr Belinda Stuart-Moonlight acted to provide the Court with an analysis of the risk of harm to human health from unauthorised sewage discharges impacting on shellfish quality. She gave expert opinion on survival of viruses and consequent risk and severity of illness following ingestion of shellfish by consumers in affected regions. The company pleaded guilty and was fined £90 million.Bath & North East Somerset Council v Pret a Manger – May 2021
Dr Belinda Stuart-Moonlight acted as the only expert witness in this significant trial. The charge was that Isobel Colnaghi, a student from Bath, had been provided with a sandwich not of the substance demanded and that this had caused her to suffer an allergic reaction. The jury heard evidence regarding the inadequacies of the investigation, and the company’s due diligence. It took them just minutes to return a not guilty verdict.
2021 will see further actions, trials and inquests in relation to criminal proceedings instigated following allergic reactions. This year will also see the introduction of ‘Natasha’s Law’, which will require full ingredient (including allergen) labelling on foods packaged for sale on the premises; this will take effect from October 2021.Food Allergen Reaction Cases
Allergen contamination of food has been in the news consistently in the last few years, often for the wrong reasons. Dr Belinda Stuart-Moonlight has acted as an expert witness in a number of manslaughter trials including R v Kuddus and Rashid and the Royal Spice Takeaway, and R v Mohammed Zaman.General Cases
Belinda continues to take on travel litigation cases in relation to food and environmentally transmitted illness. She also continues to provide reports and opinions in Court in relation to workplace origin transmitted illness.