10:23 Friday 13 December 2013

Criminal investigation leads to secret review

Written byHELEN KREFT

Mail reporter Helen Kreft and some of the shops that are selling Illegal Cigarettes - Jin LingHigh St News, High St, Burton Mail reporter Helen Kreft and some of the shops that are selling Illegal Cigarettes - Jin LingHigh St News, High St, Burton

A TOWN centre convenience store’s licence will be reviewed behind closed doors so it will not influence criminal proceedings.

However, the manager of High Street News, in Burton, is vowing to fight to keep its premises licence.

Members of the public will be excluded from East Staffordshire Borough Council’s licensing sub committee on Tuesday while the fate of the shop’s licence is discussed.

Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards officers have applied for a review of the licence but no details on reasons behind the investigation can yet be revealed.

If the reasons were revealed now it could jeopardise any fair trial in the future.

The manager at High Street News, who did not want to be named, said: “We just want to see what happens (at the meeting) and will be fighting to keep our licence.”

On October 21, the licensing authority received a request from the county council’s principal trading standards officer for the application for review of the premises licence in respect of High Street News be held in private.

That request was prompted by the fact that the evidence on which trading standards have based their review application also forms part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

The licensing authority has agreed trading standards’ request and has decided that the public should be excluded from the whole of the hearing of the application.

The licensing authority has concluded that in this instance the risk of prejudicing legal proceedings outweighs the need to hold the hearing in public.

It has been stated that there is a strong likelihood that if the evidence before the sub-committee were to be made public at this time then pending criminal proceedings could be jeopardised and the premises licence holder’s ability to receive a fair trial could be prejudiced.

The committee will also make a decision on a personal licence application made by John Mason, of Long Street, Stapenhill, in the open part of the same meeting.

However, Staffordshire Police have objected to his application. The reasons for this have not been made public.

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