Members of Leeds City Council’s licensing sub-committee made the decision to suspend the alcohol licence for Paradise Bar in Sheepscar Street at a meeting this morning, which police said would “effectively close” the venue.
The panel heard from a West Yorkshire Police officer how two people were left in hospital following an attack outside the bar in the early hours of Sunday morning, and that the bar needed to close to prevent the risk of retribution, and allow police investigations to continue.
As the meeting of the committee begun licensee Dudley Bassue said he had only received notice of the meeting the previous evening. He asked for the sub-committee to adjourn the hearing for him to get legal advice.
Adjournment was refused, on the grounds that the law requires the authority to hold the interim steps meeting within 48 hours of its receipt of the application from the police.
Police licensing officer PC Cath Arkle told the meeting: “We have had no reports in relation to the premises since it obtained its licence in February this year, and we wouldn’t normally use the summary review process where there is one incident and no previous recorded issues.
“But the circumstances of what happened in the early hours of Sunday morning are perhaps the most serious I have seen in my 14 years of licensing – and we have been left with no other option.
“The premises were operating after hours, one of the victims and his friends who had been inside are only 17 – there is a condition on the licence which states under-18s would be prevented from being inside unless the venue was being used for private hire – none of those interviewed said this was a private party.
“West Yorkshire Police is asking for a suspension of the licence at this stage due to the severity and seriousness of the recent large scale violence.
“We don’t take this step lightly but the two victims have received serious injuries – one has been left with a punctured lung which, at the time of the incident, was deemed to be life-threatening, and the 17-year-old has had his lung exposed by the deep lacerations inflicted by the unknown suspect.
“It is the view of West Yorkshire Police that suspension of the licence is the only way to promote licensing objectives and prevent further serious incident.
“We need to consider that the investigation into attempted murder is ongoing, and that efforts are being made to trace the suspects involved. It is not unusual for retribution to be sought off the back of such incidents and repercussions are a real possibility.
“Suspending all licensable activity until the review proper will effectively close the venue, allow tensions to subside and allow the investigation to progress.”
Mr Bassue said: “It was a private party, so I don’t know where you get that information from.
“The lads who were assaulted, they were turned away from the door initially.”
He added: “I don’t serve drinks in glasses, I serve plastic cups to prevent incidents like this. I can’t control what goes on outside there.”
When asked whether he had anything more to add, Mr Bassue said there was nothing else he wanted to add “at this time”.
PC Arkle responded: “Further investigations might unearth whether it was a private party, but in any case it was outside the licensed hours. There was no temporary event notice in place, so the premises should have been closed at 2.30am.”
Following a deliberation among committee members, a council officer said the group had resolved to take interim steps to suspend the premises licence with immediate effect.
He added: “The sub-committee took into account the potential for the incident to lead to reprisals which could be facilitated by or focussed upon the premises if they remain open pending the full hearing.
He added that the sub committee would not have necessarily been persuaded to suspend the licence for the other alleged breaches of the licence.
A full meeting to decide the future of Paradise Bar’s licence will now take place within 28 days.