It's now very clear from police statements made by Benn Wilson (licensee) and Dante Williams (manager) that, IF they had complied with the terms of the Licence:
- The Boheme Club at 562a Mile End Road should have been closed on the night of the murder - as the licensee was unable to comply with the terms of the licence
- Consequently IF the licensee and the manager had behaved responsibly and IF the club had been closed it follows that:
- Public Safety would have been properly protected
- Kelvin Easton could not have been in the club
- Kelvin Easton would not have been murdered and he would still be alive today.
|Benn Wilson's statement to the Police on 31st March 2011|
It clearly indicates a bill dispute led to his supplier removing the monitor and CCTV hard drive in mid-March
The police statements provided as evidence to the Licensing Hearing (see Committee Agenda: Supporting Doc’s – Boheme Club, item 4.1 PDF 2 MB) include extracts from police statements made by
- Benn Wilson (the Licensee - responsible for complete compliance with the terms of the Licence) and
- Dante Williams (the Manager - and responsible for the operation of the club so that it complied with terms of the Licence).
In opening the Boheme club on the night of 26th / 27th March 2011 both Wilson and Williams displayed COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR PUBLIC SAFETY. They both knew that:
- CCTV had not been operational in the club since mid-March
- the CCTV hard drive and monitor had been removed (by the supplier due to an unpaid bill)
- the terms of the Licence meant that the Club could not open or operate unless CCTV was in place and working
- consequently they had no Licence to operate the club on that evening.
- Both men conspired to prevent the Police from finding out the CCTV was not operational at the time
- False statements were made to the Police
- Both men only told the police the truth about the CCTV 3 days later - but only
- AFTER the Police had told the Licensing Authority that they had been told that the CCTV had been stolen around the time of the incident (ie this was one of the grounds for the suspension of the licence)
- AFTER their version of events on the night was challenged by the Police
We also note the two other witness statements offered in evidence by the Police provide additional evidence of the disregard for public safety through the operation of proper security. The statements indicate that:
- people claimed they entered the venue without having to produce any form of ID - which is another requirement of the Licence
- the form of search was a standard pat down - there is no mention of the use of all of the required electronic aids (i.e. search wand, search arch and ID scan)
|Police search the Eric and Treby Estate looking for evidence following the murder|
Maybe they were looking for a stolen CCTV hard disc?
The MERA Representation
Mark Taylor, Chair of MERA, will be representing MERA views on what should happen about the Licence to the Committee this evening. MERA was unaware of the police statements when MERA submitted its statement.
However Mark will reinforce the additional points of importance made in our formal statement:
- The licensee has not complied with the terms of licence
- Increased levels of crime, public disorder and public nuisance in the area are all directly attributable to the club. When the club is closed the problems go away
- The business model proposed by the Licensee was unsuccessful - as predicted by residents in 2009. This has led to a reversion to running events targeted at people who used to frequent the previous clubs at this venue - something that the Licensee had said they would not do.
- Both licensee and manager have been irresponsible in their marketing of the club. Latterly it was actively marketed to the old Purple/E3 crowd (via flyers, Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry messages)
- The venue is wholly unsuitable for any form of extended hours operation given the residential nature of the immediate neighbourhood, the frequent level of disturbance in the small hours - and new accommodation currently being built a few feet from the rear of the premises
- Proposals for reducing the impact of the club on residents living in the local area have NOT been fully implemented and have NOT been successful
- The venue has been repeatedly targeted by people who cause crime and disorder and anti social behaviour.
- Operating under three different licensees, there has been a consistent pattern of problems which have a serious and negative impact on the local community - which must stop once and for all.
- The club is targeted by people who have used it in the past - and caused trouble (as in Purple and E3 days)
- This club is importing unwanted and unnecessary violence into Mile End.
What needs to happen at the Tower Hamlets Licensing Sub-Committee
These are the actions MERA wants to see happen tonight at the Licensing Sub-Committee
- the Licence should be REVOKED
- both Licensee and Manager should be BANNED from holding a Licence or any involvement with the running of licensed premises.
- the Committee should indicate that it is very unlikely that it will approve any new application for a Licence within the context of the new licensing terms of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill - which is due to become law in the very near future
- What financial penalty can be imposed on Benn Wilson for such a very serious breach of the Licence?
- Are the Police going to prosecute Benn Wilson (the Licensee) and Dante Williams (the Manager) for their actions and lack of action - which to us seem to reflect both incompetence and negligence.
THE LICENSING SUB COMMITTEE WILL MEET TO REVIEW THE LICENSE
Today – Thursday, 21 April 2011 at 6.00 p.m.
Council Chamber, Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London, E14 2BG
The meeting is open to the public so do attend if you are interested in the future of the club. To get there take the 277 bus to Leamouth and get off at the last stop. Map here More travel details hereLinks: MERA News Blog: