A takeaway owner has been jailed for pouring a pot of scalding water over one of his chefs. This chef suffered horrific burns on the night and was forced to work through the pain barrier.
Justice for Scalded Chef
The takeaway owner Djamel Benrejdal, 49, was incensed when his chef, Chouaib Boussera, 30, overcooked an egg.
The violently tempered owner, who was said to be abusive and domineering, lifted the pot of boiling water from the range and threw it at his chef, Mr Boussera.
Ignoring the agonised screams of Boussera, Benrejdal sauntered out of the kitchen before returning later with yoghurt and honey, an apparent, but unsuccessful, attempt to belatedly treat his chef’s wounds.
The chef continued working until the early hours of the morning, with his injured arm immobilised in a sling. The following day Benrejdal finally took his chef to Scarborough Hospital.
Upon hearing that his chef had filed a complaint with the police Benrejdal raced back to the kitchen and tampered with the close circuit TV in an apparent attempt to conceal evidence of his crime.
Subsequently he was arrested and charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm to his chef. While the jury could not reach a verdict in relation to “GBH with intent” they did find Benrejdal guilty of an alternative count of inflicting grievous bodily harm.
According to The Scarborough News
The court heard how Benrejdal, of Scalby, exploded with fury after returning from his local mosque to pick up a large delivery order which included a Salade Nicoise. He told the chef to boil an egg for the exotic salad but went ballistic when he found the egg had cracked slightly in the boiling water. Enraged, Benrejdal’s hair-trigger temper got the better of him and he began ranting and raving at the chef and gesticulating wildly, before picking up the pan and hurling it at Mr Boussera, who was caught by the scalding water and part of the boiling egg which melted on his arm. Benrejdal, from Scarborough, claimed it was an accident and told police had dropped the pan after burning his hand on it, but this was quickly dispelled by CCTV evidence.
The chef said he had been hectored and bullied by his boss ever since starting work at the pizza parlour three months before the incident. The prosecution said that Benrejdal – a married father who has since stopped running the takeaway business – still refused to admit his guilt and even blamed the victim. Mr Espley said that just six weeks before the incident, Benrejdal was arrested for assaulting his wife after she came back from the shops with food items he didn’t like. He hit her in the face and pulled clumps of her hair out. He was on bail for that offence when he attacked the chef the following month. Defence barrister Stephen Grattage put the incident down to the “stresses and pressures” that Benrejdal was under because he couldn’t cope with running the restaurant business and was steeped in debt. “He had been operating the restaurant for nine months (but) he was simply out of his depth,” added Mr Grattage. “That kitchen became quite a heated place.”
Judge Andrew Stubbs QC said the seriousness of the offence, the “appalling” injuries suffered by the victim and the fact that Benrejdal still had “no understanding at all of what he did”, meant that an immediate jail term was unavoidable. Jailing Benrejdal for two years, he said the disgraced businessman had been “domineering and violent” towards Mr Boussera and deliberately used the pan of boiling water as a weapon, causing horrific burns and “awful, long-lasting” scarring to the victim’s arm.