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Re: Carnival 2010

PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 3:17 pm
by sam@warsopcarnival
a "section 19" is a notice of inteded prosecution not a closure notice for the record and any officer with the rank of chief constable or higher can serve this notice not a PC

Re: Carnival 2010

PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:06 am
by Muso
sam@warsopcarnival wrote:a "section 19" is a notice of inteded prosecution not a closure notice for the record and any officer with the rank of chief constable or higher can serve this notice not a PC

Not quite Sam, here's what Mornin Advertiser legal guy Peter Coulson had to say about it in May this year;

"What are seen as heavy-handed police tactics always raise the hackles of licensees, but on this occasion I have some sympathy with the trade at the actions of Lincoln police recently.

They are using the now-infamous section 19 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 to force pubs to stop selling alcohol “on the spot” until alleged breaches of their licence conditions are corrected. They claim that the “closure notice”, which they issue in such circumstances, gives them the right to order that the bar is shut while the licensee takes steps to put matters right.

In my view this is over-stepping the mark by a considerable distance. This notice has no legal sanction, because it is just a “notice”, not an order. That can only come from the magistrates when they hear the facts of the case.

It is worth going back to the origins of the new-found power. The relevant section of this Act is headed “Closure of unlicensed premises”. Reading what follows makes it entirely clear that it was intended to deal with premises that held no licence, yet were selling alcohol.

Both police and local authorities are given power to issue a closure notice, which can be served on anyone who appears to be responsible for the illegal sales, and anyone who could be affected by a subsequent closure of the premises. The notice advises those persons that if the unlicensed activities do not stop, the police will apply to the court for a closure order, which could affect the access to the premises as a whole. Nowhere does it suggest that it applies to already licensed premises, presumably because at the time it was aimed entirely at illicit trade in alcohol.

All this changed, however, back in 2003 when an undebated and unnoticed amendment was made to section 19, buried away right at the back of schedule 6 to the Licensing Act. It changed the phrase “unlicensed sale of intoxicating liquor”, which was the main offence, to “unauthorised sale of alcohol”.

At first sight, of course, this appeared to be merely a difference in words. But at a stroke it brought in breach of conditions, because selling alcohol except in accordance with a premises licence (including conditions) is technically an unauthorised sale.

Spurred on by a Home Office guidance note, police started using this closure notice not merely as advice of an impending court application, but as a means in itself to “punish” errant licensees. They are advised to put in their notice on the steps to be taken to rectify the breaches of conditions the sentence “Sales of alcohol shall stop until the above matters are put right” — or words to that effect.

There is no explicit power to do this. There is also no offence of “failing to comply with a section 19 notice” because it was never intended that section 19 should have any legal force. It is a warning notice of impending legal action. What the police ought to do, to comply with the Act, is to advise the licensee of the perceived breaches and tell him to put it right, or they will take the matter to the magistrates.

That in itself should be enough to get the trade to comply. The “punishment” of stopping bar sales is disproportionate and unnecessary.

I wish a group of licensees that has suffered this treatment would seek support for an action against the police, who in my view would not be indemnified against a claim for damages, because the Licensing Act protection would not apply. Alternatively, they could just say no. It is a matter that needs to be resolved urgently.

Re: Carnival 2010

PostPosted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:53 am
by Warsop Person
My understanding is that there are two actions in section 19, a "notice" and an "order". A notice can be served by the police or local authority and the order issued by a court. In order for a court to issue an order the person to whom it is being issued must first have been issued with a notice at least 48 hours in advance. If the reasons for the notice have been rectified or addressed then there are no grounds for issuing an order and one can't be issued under section 19.

Only the order in law can close premises down, a notice can't as it is a notice of intent and not an order to take action.

As for the Chief Constable PC thing, in law all powers are given to a Chief Constable, he/she then decides who can exercise these on their behalf, all ranks from PC to Assistant Chief Constable are effectively agents of the Chief Constable and do not technically have any powers of their own.

Re: Carnival 2010

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:58 am
by Muso
Well its a complicated old world but it would appear that i've been had, and according to the popular interpretation of the law, i should not have been told to close my premises that peaceful night in december?