Company behind Pine Heath care home prosecuted
A nursing home operator was ordered to get a real valuation of his property after a judge told the company that the valuation of a £ 500,000 building previously valued at £ 2.9 million was “eyebrow-high” .
Diamond Care (UK) Limited, which operated the Pine Heath care home in High Kelling until it closed in May 2017, was charged in court on Thursday for failing to provide safe care and treatment in the home in 2016.
The crime, of which the company pleaded guilty, dates back to November 2016 and the maintenance of the nursing home’s boilers, the failure of which exposed residents, including five people, who developed mild hyperthermia.
When he appeared before Colchester Magistrates Court on July 22, District Judge Timothy King told Diamond Care (UK) Ltd that he could not convict the company of the crime due to a lack of financial information, including the accounts presented to the court.
He also said that Pine Heath was valued at £ 500,000 when it was valued at £ 2.9 million.
District Judge King said, “I do not accept the information I have at my disposal and the difference between the accounts of £ 2.9 million and the valuation of £ 475,000 is a difference of £ 2.5 million, which is an enormous range for a property this size.
He said taking into account that the property had been left in a dilapidated state, a difference of £ 10,000 to £ 30,000 would be acceptable but the court would be asked to accept a difference of more than £ 2 million.
“I have to raise an eyebrow at what is said or included in this decision,” said the district judge.
In order to properly convict Diamond Care (UK) Limited, he asked the company to provide a new, more accurate appraisal of Pine Heath conducted by a local real estate agent and the company’s bookkeeping.
He also asked the Care Quality Commission for information on whether Pine Heath was taking in new residents at the time of the act, how much the residents were paying to stay at the home, and how much a replacement boiler would have cost the property.
The proceedings were postponed until September 30, 2021.