Arrest warrant issued for magistrate over bar trial mix-up
PUBLISHED: 12:55 17 May 2012
A MAGISTRATE and councillor says he is ‘outraged’ that a warrant was issued for his arrest after failing to appear in a trial as a witness – because he did not know he was supposed to appear.
Tim Marter was due to appear at a hearing about alleged licensing breaches at Dragons Kiss bar on Tuesday, but says he was never notified that he was supposed to attend North Somerset Courthouse.
When he failed to appear magistrates issued a warrant for his arrest – but then rescinded it when Cllr Marter was informed of the hearing and appeared at court the following day.
The Conservative councillor, who sits on North Somerset Council’s licensing committee, was due to give evidence at the trial as he had been at the bar in Regent Street on May 12, 2011 with a friend, when alcohol is alleged to have been sold outside licensed hours.
The Banwell and Winscombe representative, who also sits on the bench at Bristol Magistrate’s Court, said he had only gone to the bar that evening after returning from Bristol with a friend.
He said his friend had wanted to speak to the bar’s owner, Cam Mu, about a business venture.
He said: “Obviously I was there, but I was unaware that there could have been anything wrong with being there at that time.
“I did not think anything of it until I heard that the council were taking action and I spoke to the authority’s solicitor.
“I prepared a statement, but then I was told it was not needed. Obviously I did not think any more of it as no-one told me that I was due to appear as a witness.
“But apparently I was summonsed, although no-one contacted me and I have not received anything to tell me about it.
“I think it’s outrageous that they issued a warrant for my arrest as I clearly did not know anything about my appearance. Especially as I am a magistrate, I think it’s a bit naughty.
“Luckily I was able to turn up and sort it out quite quickly.”
The court told the Mercury that defence solicitor Chris Carter had told magistrates on Tuesday that a summons had been issued by a member of administrative staff to Cllr Marter to appear as a witness.
But with Cllr Marter denying he had ever received a summons, an investigation is underway to find out whether the summons was sent or not.
Between them Mr Mu, of Brean Down Avenue, Weston, his wife Que Mu and his business Mu Mu Enterprises face 39 alleged licensing offences, which include selling alcohol outside licensed hours and failing to prevent smoking in smoke-free premises.
They deny the allegations.
The trial has been adjourned until June 1.
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