Covid appeal moves from Peterborough to Cambridge and now to Huntingdon
- Credit: Terry Harris/Dan Mason
Former Wisbech mayor Aigars Balsevics - facing possibly disqualification from running one of his pubs over Covid breaches -has been given a further stay of execution.
His appeal against the findings of a licencing panel of Fenland Council began before a Peterborough court in September.
It moved – inexplicably - today to Cambridge before magistrates there packed it off to Huntingdon Law Courts next month.
Fenland Council licensing manager Michelle Bishop and the council’s legal representative Leo Charalambides looked perplexed as to why it was even listed in Cambridge.
Peterborough magistrates spent a day hearing the appeal before announcing they would spend time reviewing the evidence before announcing a verdict.
Mr Charalambides said he had only been notified last night of the Cambridge hearing – neither Cllr Balsevics or his legal representative David Dadds were present.
Cllr Balsevics has appealed a decision of the Fenland District Council licensing committee to remove him as designated premises supervisor for the Angel.
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At the appeal hearing in Peterborough Cllr Balsevics revealed he had paid a £1,000 Covid fine for serving drinks at the Angel after the 10pm Christmas Eve curfew.
But he also said that allegations about multiple Covid breaches made by Fenland Council were never subject to a formal police interview.
Cllr Balsevics refuted a suggestion he lost control of his customers.
He said: “We were doing our best. I did not lose control.”
Magistrates saw footage from inside the public house on Christmas Eve.
Mr Charalambides said the alleged breaches had highlighted failings in Cllr Balsevics, his staff and customers, something Cllr Balsevics disagreed with.
Mr Dadds, who previously described the hearing as a “sledgehammer to crack a nut”, said it was “very difficult” to fully understand what happened.
“There is a saying where you throw enough mud and hope some sticks, and I’m concerned mud throwing has taken place,” he said.
“The police have dealt with the matter by way of a fixed penalty notice, and looking forwards, the licensing objectives will be met.”
Mr Dadds added that a three-month suspension placed on Cllr Balsevics was “disproportionate” and that removal of managerial responsibility would “not be acceptable”.