I attended, as a member of the public, the meeting of Worthing Council’s licensing committee last month, which decided to revoke the alcohol licence of Mr Ash Soni, at The Shop convenience store, on the corner of Chapel Road and Wenban Road.
During the meeting, Mr Soni alleged that Sussex Police licensing office Jean Irving told him in a phone call he should not bother to install a unique scanner – the only one in the UK – which would prevent any further sales of alcohol to under-18s.
According to Mr Soni, Jean Irving told him: “Save your money (which amounted to virtually £4,000) as we are going to take away your licence.”
She allegedly then suggested that Mr Soni would do well to surrender his licence as he was going to lose it anyway, stating that this would be “cost-effective”.
Herald reporter Oli Poole has since covered these proceedings online.
If Mr Soni’s allegations are true, then this is a most serious matter – a threat by someone representing Sussex Police to pre-judge the deliberations of the licensing committee.
Such threats, such bully-boy behaviour by officer Irving, if true, represent a challenge, indeed a threat, not only to Mr Soni, but to the council – elected by the people – to democracy and natural justice.
Indeed, such threats surely upset Mr Soni and undermined preparations for the defence of his side of the case.
I call upon the council and licensing committee chairman Paul High, who was in charge of the meeting, to carry out an immediate investigation into this controversial phone call.
One presumes Sussex Police record such phone calls?
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