Published: 08 March 2018 by Jonathan Smith
Poppleston Allen has completed their first successful appeal in Scotland to the Sheriff’s Court, following a decision by North Lanarkshire Licensing Board to refuse an application to remove a condition from a Premises Licence which restricted the consumption of alcohol in auditoria to those films that were classed as suitable for persons aged 18 or over at The Showcase, Barrbridge Leisure Centre, Coatbridge, Glasgow.
Poppleston Allen instructed Peter Lawson of Miller Samuel Hill Brown, who himself instructed Robert Skinner to appear in respect of the appeal.
The Sheriff’s Court concluded that whilst the Board may have had concerns about children in darkened cinemas when alcohol was being consumed, to make a decision to refuse the consumption of alcohol where children were so present would “Require clarity as to what formed their basis, which would have to be capable of enunciation and elucidation. If the concerns were vague and resistant to articulation, there are more likely to be risks to which attention ought to be afforded than imminent, tangible dangers. Whilst the Board had expressed a discomfiture which they feel and concerns which they harbour, it is not possible to detect any justifiable, objective material which forms the basis for them and thereby for the decision taken by them”.
The Sheriff’s Court went on to say that the neither the Board nor the Police had alluded to any instances of harm from cinemas elsewhere where children had been allowed into films where alcohol was being consumed, nor were there any concerns expressed over the particular locality, and that “Whilst the concerns might have been real in that they were genuinely held, they have not been demonstrated to be real in that any rational or discernible explanation was evident for them”.
The decision was therefore reversed, and the Showcase at Coatbridge can now sell alcohol to people who can take it into films which are classified for viewing by persons under the age of 18.
The Board was also found liable to pay the expenses of the appellant.
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