Staff at West Cumbrian pub cleared at trial
Staff at a Workington pub were cleared of any wrongdoing at a trial.
Nadia Foster, 44, of Westfield Terrace, Main Road, Flimby, who is the designated premises supervisor at Vinnie's Bar, Finkle Street, was found not guilty of knowingly allowing licensable activities to be carried out at Vinnie's bar without appropriate door staff on duty.
Teresa Humes, 53, of Moorclose Road, Salterbeck, was found not guilty of a charge of selling alcohol to a person under 18.
The hearing was held before magistrates at West Cumbria Magistrates court yesterday.
The allegations referred to an incident on December 29 when a 16-year-old was served alcohol at Vinnie's Bar.
Mrs Humes admitted she served the teenager but added she believed he was over 18 as he had produced a driving licence which she had no reason to believe was not his.
Pam Fee, prosecuting, said: "Mrs Humes faces charges of selling alcohol to a person under 18.
"Now we know that took place and in reality he shouldn't have been served that alcohol.
"She asked for ID and checked the date of birth, but did she do enough to make sure the person on the ID was the person requesting the sale of alcohol?"
Vicky Cartmell, defending, showed magistrates a picture of the teenager and a picture of the driving licence he had used, which was of the teenager's brother.
She said: "The photograph on a driving licence is quite small, but it is my submission both photographs shown look quite similar.
"If you look at my driving licence, it looks a bit different from what I look now. People change hairstyle, they lose or gain weight.
"Mrs Humes asked him for his date of birth and he confirmed it."
She added Mrs Humes had asked for prove of age to another customer that evening, despite knowing she was 18 or over, because the bar has a challenge 21 policy.
She said: "This isn't a person who doesn't care who she serves. She knew that lady was over 18, but because the challenge 21 was in place she applied the rule."
Acquitting Mrs Humes, Sarah Bradbury, chairman of the magistrates panel, said: "We believe you are a credible witness and an experienced person in the bar trade. You believed he was 18 and were satisfied from evidence of his age."
She added the driving licence provided would have convinced a reasonable person that the man requesting to be served was the person on the document.
The court heard on that night door staff were not working at the bar despite the premises licence stating door staff should always be on duty between Thursday and Sunday evenings.
But Mrs Foster told magistrates her interpretation of the licence issued by Allerdale council was that the rule of having door staff on duty outside weekends only applied if there was regulated entertainment in the lounge bar, which was not the case on the evening in question.
Miss Fee said she believed that section of the premises licence was clear.
But Mrs Cartmell said there was no evidence from the council about whose interpretation was correct.
She added: "My client's view after conversations with the police and her reading the licence was that the condition only applied when the lounge bar was in use."
Mrs Bradbury said her interpretation of the licence was that door staff should have been on duty that evening.
However she added Mrs Foster believed she was interpreting the wording correctly and found her not guilty of the charge.
At an earlier hearing Mrs Foster was also accused of knowingly allowing a person under 18 into the premises, knowingly allowing that person to be served alcohol, allowing disorderly conduct to take place and allowing the premises to be open with no first aid trained personnel on site, but these charges were dropped.