Fabric has released a statement following its court victory against Islington Council on December 10.
Last December, the London club was threatened with closure over a license review, following a drug-related incident. After a hearing, they were allowed to stay open, but only after agreeing to introduce sniffer dogs and mandatory ID checks. Club founders Cameron Leslie and Keith Reilly said at the time that they would fight the decision, claiming that “We do everything we can to stop people taking drugs in the club.”
After a successful appeal against these licensing conditions, Fabric has made the following statement: “We feel that this statement reflects the opinions of many businesses operating within the night time industry in regards to these conditions. Everyone at fabric is delighted with the outcome and are very much looking forward to resuming our positive, long standing and solid relationships with both Islington Council’s licensing department and the borough’s police to ensure a safe and welcoming environment for our club goers and local residents.”
Fabric’s lawyers Woods Whur have also made a statement, which explains that “District Judge Allison allowed our appeal in full. In relation to the drugs dog she said, on the evidence she had heard, Islington were wrong to impose the condition as it would not promote the licensing objectives. The Judge went further and found that the use of a drugs dog could undermine the licensing objectives in a number of unintended ways, including causing drugs to remain in circulation that would otherwise have been confiscated under Fabric’s thorough search procedures.
“With regard to ID Scan, the Judge said that there was no evidence that the premises had issues with underage entry/sales; that to deploy it at Fabric would adversely affect the length of the queue, with possible public order consequences; and that it would create problems for the significant number of non-UK customers who would not necessarily carry photo ID. She said that Fabric had no issues with violent crime and disorder, which made ID Scan a more understandable control measure at other premises. She also noted that the ID Scan system Fabric had trialled for 7 weeks had not been interrogated once by the police, and that in 16 years of operation there had only been one incident at the premises where ID Scan might have been of some use in the prevention of crime – although she added that, on the facts, she doubted it would. Again she found that Islington were wrong to impose this disproportionate condition.”