Two directors of a Bolton chicken processing factory have denied coercing an employee into performing forced or compulsory labour.
Sajid Dalal and his wife Anisha Dalal, both directors of Bolton Halal Chicken, each face a single charge of servitude under the Modern Slavery Act 2015 alongside his father Ebrahim Dalal, a former director of Bolton Poultry Products.
All three live at Ellesmere Gardens in Great Lever and the charge relates to the alleged treatment of a single male worker at the firm’s processing plant in Moncrieffe Street in Bolton town centre.
The couple, who have three children, both entered a not guilty plea at Bolton Magistrates’ Court yesterday, while Mr Dalal’s father gave no indication of plea.
The magistrates’ court declined jurisdiction in the case and sent the matter for trial at Bolton Crown Court, where there will be a hearing on 6 April.
Peter Leather, for Mr Dalal, told the court: “This is clearly going to be a very contested case at crown court.
“They will be able to present evidence to justify everything that is being alleged against them.”
Mrs Dalal, aged 37, and her father-in-law, 78, appeared on unconditional bail and were granted bail by the magistrates on condition they reside at their home address, surrender their passports and refrain from applying for travel documents, and refrain from contacting two named prosecution witnesses.
Mrs Dalal’s husband appeared from custody and was granted conditional bail by the magistrates on condition he resides at his home address, surrender his passports and refrain from applying for travel documents, refrain from contacting two named prosecution witnesses and reports weekly to a police station.
However, the prosecutor said the Crown is to appeal the granting of bail and so Sajid Dalal remained in custody pending a bail hearing at Bolton Crown Court.
The three defendants were charged after Greater Manchester Police raided the chicken factory on 7 March.