Elk may hold teen discos despite test case ruling

Sense Nightclub, Glenavon House Hotel

Sense Nightclub, Glenavon House Hotel

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Teenage discos are set to continue at the Elk despite the outcome of a case against the Glenavon Hotel for hosting under 18s on licensed premises.

Cookstown men, Brian and Gerard Morris, fought the case to the bitter end but lost a final appeal against their conviction in November.

During the case, the prosecution’s evidence conceded that the 13-17 discos at Sense were well-run and had no alcohol on display or for sale.

However, their conviction was upheld with both men ordered to pay fines of £3,000, but bosses at the Glenavon say the ruling has also cost £100,000 in lost revenue.

After the judgement, the Elk in Toome, is understood to have moved its teenage events to a marque in the grounds that held half the 1,200 capacity of the nightclub in which it used to host events.

Manager Dermot Dallat could not be reached by the Mail, but the Irish News quoted him saying the teen disco could be moved back indoors for health and safety reasons, and that police have been informed.

While police told the Mail that “where a breach of licensing laws is detected on any premises, PSNI will report it to the PPS,” changes to legislation are under consideration.

The Department of Social Development is currently considering changes to licensing law that would legalise such events.

A spokesperson for the DSD said after the recent judgement : “A recent Court of Appeal Judgement in relation to teen discos in licensed premises found it is unlawful for a person under 18 to be in licensed premises during the permitted hours.

“The objective of Article 58 of the Licensing (NI) Order 1996 is to safeguard children by restricting access to licensed premises, underpinned by criminal sanction for breach.”