Chinese restaurant must let in guide dog

A blind man has won a ground-breaking legal ruling after he was barred from taking his guide dog into a Chinese restaurant.

Leigh Hutchings, 44, was stopped from eating in the restaurant in his home town where he had gone for 25 years after a new owner took over the business.

Mr Hutchings, of Watford, Hertfordshire, took Andrew D'Cruz to court and secured the first mandatory injunction against a restaurant owner under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). Mr D'Cruz, could now be imprisoned if he refuses to allow Mr Hutchings into the restaurant.

Mr Hutchings and the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), who backed the case, hailed the ruling yesterday as a victory for the blind with guide dogs, who suffer widespread discrimination.

Mr Hutchings said: "I did this for other guide dog owners. I wouldn't want anyone to go to prison for such a stupid thing but this was for others who don't have the strength of personality to go through with something like this."

The problems started when Mr Hutchings went into the restaurant after Mr D'Cruz took over. He said that he had to "argue his way in".

His guide dog, Frankie, sat under the table while he ate, he said.

He was banned the second time he tried to eat with a friend at the Imperial Garden Chinese Restaurant in August last year after Mr D'Cruz cited environmental health concerns. Mr Hutchings said that was the third occasion in 10 days in which he had been asked to leave a restaurant or pub because of a guide dog.

At the hearing at Watford County Court on 26 August, Mr D'Cruz was also ordered to pay Mr Hutchings £900.

Catherine Casserly from the RNIB said: "It sends a powerful message to service providers of any sort that they breach the DDA at their peril."

Mr D'Cruz was not available for comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Bob Dylan
art
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?