Hove cocktail bar plagued by assaults, brawls and cocaine given ‘yellow card’ – but can stay open

Posted On 15 Mar 2017 at 4:45 pm

A Hove cocktail bar which faced temporary closure after a shocking catalogue of violent incidents and suspected cocaine dealing has been given a yellow card – but can remain open.

Police requested a review of Misty’s licence, providing a comprehensive timeline of incidents including two assaults resulting in life changing incidents, the ‘worst pub brawl’ one police officer had ever seen and the city’s highest reading for cocaine ever made during drugs swab tests.

However yesterday, police said they were withdrawing their request for a review after having come to an agreement with the owner, including the implementation of a long list of conditions and a brief closure to implement them starting this Friday until the end of the month.

This afternoon, the licensing panel published their decision, saying that after consideration they were accepting the compromise but that the owner of the Church Road bar should consider this a “yellow card”.

The decision said: “The panel was presented with a proposed memorandum of agreement containing conditions relating to door staff, reduction in hours, Clubscan and voluntary suspension as an appropriate and proportionate response to the review.

“The panel spent a great deal of time questioning both the police and the licence holder about these proposals. The panel expressed serious concerns at the nature and severity of many of the incidents which had occurred at the premises and was concerned to ensure that the proposals were appropriate and sufficient to resolve the issues at the premises and ensure robust management in the future.

“After careful consideration the panel has decided to accept and endorse the memorandum of agreement put forward by the police and licence holder with two amendments which are agreed and accepted by the parties.

“The panel wish to make it clear that these steps constitute a ‘yellow’ card in line with the adopted enforcement procedure and that any further incidents are likely to result in a further review and likely revocation of the licence.”

And Sussex Police have warned that they will be keeping a close eye on the bar in case there is any future trouble.

the force’s head of licensing Jean Irving said: “We will be monitoring them so closely and if they put a foot out of step we shall take them back to review and ask for a revocation of their licence.”

Sussex Police has detailed a catalogue of incidents at Misty’s Cocktail Bar on Church Road, Hove, since the beginning of 2015, including two incidents of GBH, “alarmingly high” levels of cocaine throughout the venue, and the worst pub brawl one police officer had ever seen.

Police originally asked that owner Afshin Kianifard was removed as designated premises supervisor, and a raft of measures including reduced hours, improved CCTV, plastic glasses, and hiring professional door staff.

It also asked that the venue’s licence is suspended for at least six weeks for these measures to be implemented.

However Mr Kianifard’s barrister James Rankin, who is described on his chamber’s website as a preeminent licensing barrister with 30 years experience and the only starred licensing junior in the country, argued that closing for this long would lose the bar too much money.

Under the compromise agreement, Mr Kianifard has agreed to appoint a new designated premises supervisor. The hours have been reduced so that last orders is no later than 1.30am at weekends, and 1am on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the venue closes half an hour later than that.

Last entry is an hour before last orders on Friday and Saturday, and 30 minutes before on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Digital CCTV will be installed and dated and timed footage kept for 31 days, with the management agreeing to give police access when required.

Drinks will be served in plastic glasses. Illegal drugs will be seized and kept in a secure box for the police to retrieve and destroy, with those found with drugs banned.

SIA registered bouncers will be hired, with one given the job of supervising the garden on Friday and Saturday nights, with an approved mobile support unit contracted for back up.

The bar has already installed an ID scanner, and this is now one of its licence conditions.

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