Published: 28 March 2013
Q: I own several pubs and one of my DPS’s has recently been convicted of assault. He was involved in an incident where he punched some customers who were fighting in his pub. The Magistrates have committed him for sentence to the Crown Court, I assume because they feel their sentencing powers are insufficient. I know that a Magistrates Court can suspend a licence for up to 6 months, but what I am worried about is that the Crown Court, in addition to sentencing my DPS for the assault, may suspend his Personal Licence for even longer, or possibly even revoke it?
A: I don’t know the facts of this case nor this particular DPS, so I will not comment on the wisdom or otherwise of continuing to employ (as you seem to propose) someone convicted of assault. Needless to say, you need to think very carefully about whether this is the right thing for your business and your customers, and also what the view of the Police may be – if, following any suspension, you propose to vary the licence to include him once again as the DPS, the Police may well object to this proposed variation or possibly even Review the licence. As to the differences in sentencing powers between the Magistrates Court and the Crown Court so far as Personal Licences go, they are identical. Whichever Court deals with the sentence can suspend the licence for up to 6 months or forfeit it. Clearly, given that your DPS’s case has gone to the Crown Court his offence is considered to be serious, but so far as his Personal Licence goes the Magistrates would have had exactly the same powers to suspend or forfeit it as the Crown Court does. Remember you will need a Personal Licence Holder ready to take over as DPS in the event that the licence is suspended or forfeited.
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