Oral Masters, trading as Blue Marlin and Welly’s Cool Spot, was fined $1,000 Monday after pleading guilty to failure to produce documents as required by the Labour and Pensions Department.

Defense attorney Lloyd Samson said Masters had been running the establishments since 1993 and had no previous convictions. Recently, he delegated responsibilities to other people: “They failed him miserably,” Mr. Samson told the court. “He is now in back in the driver’s seat. I doubt we’ll have any further problems.”

Mr. Samson confirmed that Welly’s, off Sound Way, has been operating since the 1960s. No date was given for how long the Blue Marlin, on Eastern Avenue, had been in operation but local publications refer to it from the mid-1970s. Magistrate Valdis Foldats said Masters had a long track record, but the people he had deputized “didn’t live up to your obviously high standards.”

Senior Crown counsel Candia James explained that the director of the Labour and Pensions Department signed a letter on July 29, 2015, requesting employment contracts and time sheets for employees at the two restaurants for Jan. 1 to June 30, 2015. The letter was delivered by hand on Aug. 3 and requested the information by Aug. 12, 2015.

As of Oct. 5, 2015, there was no compliance.

The matter was first sent to court on April 5, 2016, but no summons had been served. The defendant entered guilty pleas on Aug. 29, 2016.

The magistrate pointed out that the law was regulatory – to make sure the proper authorities can check that employers are doing the right thing for their employees.

He said he had to send a message that letters from such authorities must be obeyed. People who delegate duties must make sure the work is being done, he said.

The maximum sentence is a fine of $2,000, the magistrate noted. He set his starting point at $1,000. By pleading guilty, Masters showed he took responsibility, the magistrate said. For that reason, the fine was reduced to $500 for each offense, a total of $1,000.

Magistrate Foldats said the sentence was aimed at general deterrence so that employers would know they must comply.

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