A community pub which has already been the subject of a review.
On an otherwise quiet Friday evening, two customers of the pub are subject to a very violent and apparently unprovoked attack causing serious injury.
Police attend and immediately order the premises to close under Section 161 LA 2003. As the Law requires the matter is referred to the Court and a hearing takes place before the District Judge on the Tuesday of the following week.
The evidence is given that the staff have been verbally threatened about what will happen to them if they hand over the CCTV. The suspension is continued pending full hearing of the compulsory review hearing by the Local Authority within 28 days.
The Police produce statements citing very few incidents at the premises since the first review hearing but go into some detail about the attack itself. They say that they don’t propose to produce the CCTV evidence but propose to describe it to a Committee. We were invited to have the CCTV evidence produced if we wished but were assured by the Police, that if we asked for it to be provided it would be “guaranteed revocation” of the Licence once the Committee sees it.
- At the first hearing, the staff present at the incident were unwilling to attend although they confirmed that the threats had been made.
- A decision was taken to cooperate with the Police to try and get them onside to start with whilst the matter was further investigated. The staff were eventually, after the shock, encouraged to come forward.
- A decision was taken immediately to review the CCTV and whilst it showed that the matter was serious the attack was completely unprovoked and this was a “one-off”. The CCTV did, however, appear to reveal instances of underage drinking and smoking at the premises.
- The Police, unfortunately for them, exaggerated the situation. It was clear that we were able to persuade the Committee that the closing of a pub permanently following such an unprovoked attack would be over the top.
- Conditions were imposed however relating to the requirement for a Personal Licence Holder to be on the premises at all times when the premises were open and stringent conditions relating to avoiding underage sales.
- Always test the evidence.