Former boss of Derby's Old Bell fails to show at court appeal to run bar
A FORMER pub manager failed to turn up for his own appeal against a decision to deny him permission to run a new city centre venue.
Magistrates allowed Paul Keenan more than an hour to attend his own hearing yesterday in Derby.
But he never showed up, leaving magistrates to dismiss his appeal and hand him court costs of almost £1,600.
Mr Keenan used to manage the Old Bell, in Sadler Gate.
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In May, that venue was shut by Derby City Council following the death of skateboarder Ashley Finlay on the street outside.
Mr Keenan has since taken over the former Beckets Bar, in Becket Street, renaming it the Hairy Dog.
He wanted the venue's licence to be altered to make him the designated premises supervisor – the person responsible on-site.
But police objected and, at a general licensing sub-committee meeting in July, they said evidence they had discovered since looking at the way the Old Bell was run meant officers did not have faith that the Hairy Dog would be run safely.
Speaking after yesterday's hearing at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court, PC Mark Dunn, from the police licensing team, said: "We are absolutely delighted that the original decision has been upheld and Mr Keenan's appeal dismissed.
"We do not believe Mr Keenan is responsible enough to be a designated premises supervisor. That's been our stance since earlier this year."
James Carter, acting for the city council, told the hearing that Mr Keenan appealed following its licensing sub-committee decision to suspend his licence on July 2.
He added: "Mr Keenan attended the first court hearing on August 23 and a framework was set out that said he needed to serve papers by September 1, giving the council until October 19 to respond, which it did.
"But Mr Keenan has not turned up for any court hearing since.
"Papers have been sent to the Hairy Dog, where he has been seen."
At July's council hearing, Mr Keenan strongly denied the argument that he was incapable of being a designated premises supervisor.
At yesterday's hearing, the chairman of the magistrates' bench, Georgina Broughton, said: "Mr Keenan has failed to attend and we are dismissing his appeal.
"There has been no communication from him since August and we also grant the local authority costs of £1,595."
The Derby Telegraph tried to contact Mr Keenan but his telephone number would not accept our calls.