01332 340 211

The underage sale

The Problem

Busy town centre pub with no particular history of difficulties.

The Landlord sells alcohol to three youths under the age of 18. They leave the premises and violently attack a man leading to his death. One of the youths is convicted of manslaughter.

The Police seek revocation of the Licence and would not enter into any discussion about it. Our approach was to recognise that the Licensing Authority in such a high-profile case, which had attracted much media publicity, were likely to want to be seen to be doing something, however, we wanted to stop them short of revocation, thinking a suspension would be a good outcome.

The landlord admitted the sale before taking legal advice and we were able to exploit this as a virtue.

The Solution

We were able to persuade the Council that the landlord could not be responsible for what had happened i.e. in most cases underage sales do not lead to attacks of anything like this severity. There is, however, some case law which is not helpful to us on this point.

The Council ordered a two-month suspension of the Licence which the landlord was willing to take however, the Police appealed.

Our difficulty then became that if the Court decided to revoke the Premises Licence then we would be left having to apply for a new one and accordingly we sought a transfer of the Premises Licence to our brewery client to remove that obstacle.

The application for transfer surprisingly was also opposed by the Police but was granted by the Licensing Authority.

On appeal, we took the same line as the original hearing before the Licensing Committee. Our client did not cross-appeal, he came over as a man willing to take his punishment.
The Police appeal was dismissed.

For more information, contact our Alcohol & Entertainment Licensing team on 01332 340 211.

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