Scarborough Council’s decision to strip nightclub Boleyns of its license was built on a “hoax” and a “fraud”, a court heard.
Lawyers representing the trouble-hit nightspot doubt the person who brought the initial action against the St Thomas Street venue even exists.
The explosive revelations came at the first public hearing held over the future of the Scarborough town centre nightclub, which has been thrown into jeopardy after a council committee revoked its licence just days before Christmas.
As a judge presided over a packed courtroom at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court on Friday March 14, lawyers from both parties thrashed out the details of what’s now expected to be a four day hearing later in the year to decide the club’s fate.
With manager Wayne Morriss watching on in the wings, branded the council licensing committee’s decision to effectively shut the club down “perverse in all the circumstances”.
And he added that they will argue at the hearing that the council’s decision to revoke the licence was done with “substantial prejudice” against Boleyns.
“(Scarborough Council) got it wrong from the beginning,” said the club’s solicitor, from the Nottingham firm Poppleston and Allen.
“We say that the initial application was a hoax, or even worse, a fraud.”
In court, he named Ian McLaughlin as the person who brought the initial action against Boleyns, action which was piggybacked by North Yorkshire Police.
However, during the lengthy hearing, a court heard how he never appeared at the December hearing in which the licence was revoked, and that all subsequent attempts to contact him from Boleyns’ side failed.
Bosses at Boleyns even hired a private investigator to try to locate his whereabouts, but ultimately that also proved fruitless.
Scarborough Council’s legal team offered up little in terms of their eventual defence during the case management hearing – although the authority’s solicitor said she was surprised by the revelations, having had little time to prepare having only been informed of them that morning.
Previously, the council had ruled that Boleyns should have to close due to violent incidents at the club, including attacks by doormen who were then allowed to keep working.
At the hearing, it was said the police had 67 recorded incidents of trouble at the club.
However, Boleyns’ solicitor said they had “never been itemised” and that they will be “extensively challenged” at any future hearing.
Scarborough Council’s representative said she wanted to ensure all the facts were on the table to avoid being “ambushed”, and Judge Lower set a series of dates for all evidence and case summaries to be submitted ahead of the proceedings.
However, Boleyns’ legal team claimed that they don’t even expect the case to make it past the next stage.
Both sides will now go away to prepare the “skeletal” cases in preparation for what presiding District Judge Adrian Lower has said will likely be a four-day hearing.
The hearing, which will be held at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court, is scheduled to take place between September 8 and September 11.
The venue will stay open until at least that date, and is currently in the midst of a six-figure refurbishment.