Operator slams Met police after losing £200k due to 'misleading' evidence

By Ellie Bothwell contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Metropolitan police service, London, Metropolitan police

Guvnor nightclub in Newham was shut for seven months following a stabbing outside the club in February
Guvnor nightclub in Newham was shut for seven months following a stabbing outside the club in February
A London operator has hit out at the Metropolitan police after misleading evidence led to the seven-month closure of his nightclub and the loss of an estimated £200,000.

Stephen Kakooza, owner of the Guvnor nightclub in Newham, east London, was forced to shut the venue for seven months after his licence was revoked following a stabbing outside the club in February. He won an appeal against the decision last month after a judge criticised the police evidence given at a summary review.

He was awarded £10,000 in legal costs but said his fees totalled about £19,000 and is now seeking compensation.

No 'forensic analysis'

The district judge said Newham Council’s licensing sub-committee accepted “misleading” evidence from the Metropolitan Police without “forensic analysis” and failed “to give comprehensive reasons for its decision”.

A police superintendent said the venue “generated a high number of crimes in comparison to similar venues in the borough”, adding that a number of those resulted in “serious assaults”. However, the judge said there was no evidence to back up those claims and two incidents relating to the premises were cited as ABH and GBH despite the fact they had been recategorised after a full investigation.

The judge also criticised the quality and timeliness of reports the police submitted.

Kakooza told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​: “If accurate police evidence was presented to the council at the time, I would still be operating. I would say I have lost around £200,000, and will definitely look into getting compensation.”

Conditions

New conditions imposed on the club’s licence mean it must now close an hour earlier, have an incident book and use ID scanners, metal detectors and operate the Challenge 25 scheme — although Kakooza said most of these measures are already in place at his suggestion.

He hopes to reopen the nightclub next month, but will be looking to sell up and concentrate on running his other venue in Bermondsey, south London, as he does not want to work with the police and local council any more.

Licensing solicitor David Dadds, who represented the venue, said the steps imposed before a summary review, in this case, the suspension of the licence, are generally enforced while the decision is pending an appeal, unlike in a normal review, which is why the venue was closed for seven months.

'Evidence is going unchallenged'

“It’s fair to say in the London area, Metropolitan Police evidence is going unchallenged or appellants are not given an opportunity to cross-examine at the first stage,” he said. Key to this case was a witness statement from another police officer, who said Kakooza and his team “were not at fault” for the stabbing, Dadds added.

Chief Inspector Dave Moorhead from Newham Police said: "Following an appeal by the operator against the decision by the licensing sub-committee to revoke the premises licence, the Guvnor Club has been given permission to reopen. 

"There was an acceptance by all concerned that there was a need for additional licensing conditions which have now come into effect. These include changes to the licensing hours and door security measures.

"Police will continue to review working practices alongside the local authority to ensure we deliver the highest possible level of service."

A spokesperson from Newham Council said: “Newham Council takes its responsibilities as a licensing authority seriously and the licensing sub-committee will not hesitate to impose restrictions on premises that pose a risk to our residents.

“We will now review our processes and work with the police to ensure that our residents’ remain safe and that future decisions are made on the best possible evidence.”

Related topics: Other operators

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1 comment

And Stephen scores 0.06

Posted by david,

On a scale of 1 to 10 measuring the seriousness of miscarriages of justice at the hands of the Metropolitan Police, I would suggest Stephen comes in at about 0.06.

Operation Countryman just made plod a bit more cunning.

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