A night club owner in Bristol has been found guilty of a string of health and safety breaches at his city centre club.
Edward Clarke, the owner of Arc Bar in Broad Street, was found guilty of 23 breaches of the conditions of his license at a hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court.
Magistrates ordered that his personal license should be forfeited, but that decision was suspended pending an appeal.
The breaches included the use of smoke machines and lasers even though he had been advised by health and safety officer the previous day not to use them.
Clarke was ordered to pay £2,250 in fines and £4,000 towards prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £120.
Ian Wilkinson, Licensing Enforcement Co-ordinator said: “It is very disappointing indeed to witness such a continued sequence of non-compliance as this, which are substantial hazards to public safety.
“It does further underline the importance of the involvement of partner agencies in making unannounced visits to licensed premises.”
The case is the latest of a series of prosecutions and followed three visits by Bristol City Council Officers.
In November 2012 Bristol Health and Safety officers found faulty emergency lighting; poor markings on stairs; no available hot water; no ground floor ventilation; a bolted exit door, a lack of a handrail on the emergency route; lack of an emergency exit door sign, and a trip hazard near the emergency exit door.
In May 2013 the Licensing Enforcement Team found:
Bristol City Councillor Ron Stone said: “As chair of the Licensing Committee, I find it very disappointing that Mr Clarke continues with a pattern of ignoring premises license conditions, some of which fall into the most serious category such as obstructed emergency routes, a lack of signage, trip hazards, and a bolted final exit door.
“Specific advice on the use of laser and smoke effects given on the 6 December 2012 was ignored the very next day when a check was made.
His attack on our officers’ veracity and integrity is unjust and untrue. I am staggered at his repeated disregard for the requirements of his licence, which are imposed to protect the public’.”
Mr Clarke’s previous convictions were disclosed in open court after Mr Clarke attacked the integrity of officers.
When the character of prosecution witnesses is attacked the prosecution has the right to disclose information about the defendant’s character.
In 2006 he was convicted in September at Bristol Magistrates Court of multiple breaches of premises license conditions, following a regulatory visit in November 2005.
He was fined £1,000 with £750 costs. One of the breaches was a chained and locked emergency route door. While the court appearance was pending, a further visit was made and other breaches were found.
In November 2006 a further visit was made, and it was again found that the ground floor final exit door was secured with two padlocks while the premises were open to the public, amongst other breaches. This came before the Bristol Magistrates in December 2008, when Mr Clarke was convicted and fined £1,000 with £750 costs.
Source: Bristol Post
Lighthouse Comment: It seems very strange that people still find it acceptable to ignore the legal requirements. The law has been written to protect and help everyone.
Do not get it wrong, we can help you get it right.