The prosecution of a charity and its manager in whose care a vulnerable teenager died has been postponed.

Sophie Bennett, from Tooting, was just 19 when she died on May 4, 2016 while being looked after at Lancaster Lodge in Richmond, a home run by Richmond Psychosocial Foundation International (RPFI).

Both the charity and Penny Jhugroo, who ran the home, are being prosecuted by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over an alleged failure to provide safe care and treatment, resulting in Sophie being exposed to the significant risk of avoidable harm, under the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

But defence lawyers told Ealing Magistrates Court on June 17 that the CQC might have waited too long to prosecute.

Under Section 90 of the act, proceedings can be brought “within a period of 12 months from the date on which evidence sufficient in the opinion of the prosecutor to warrant the proceedings came to the prosecutor’s knowledge”.

The CQC inspected Lancaster Lodge in the days after Ms Bennett’s death and released its report on June 24, 2016, finding the home “inadequate” – defence lawyers argued that would have constituted “sufficient” evidence.

But the act also states “no such proceedings are to be brought by virtue of this subsection more than three years after the commission of the offence”, and parties will return to the court on September 13 to discuss whether this means the case can continue.

If it does, the case will be scheduled for about 10 days from a date decided at the September hearing.