Westfield bar's licence under threat after girl raped

Police have charged a man with murder following a fatal assault in Goresbrook Road, Dagenham, on Fri

The Met Police has applied for a review of the Bat and Ball's premises licence - Credit: MPS

A bar at Westfield Stratford City could lose its premises licence after an underage girl who attended the venue was raped.

The Metropolitan Police has requested a review of the Bat and Ball's licence, which will be decided on by Newham Council's licensing sub-committee on Friday (November 26).

The girl was among four 15 and 16-year-olds who attended the venue on the evening of Saturday, September 4.

PC Gary Watson wrote that the girl went to a police station with her father to report she had been the victim of a stranger rape. She had been separated from friends after drinking at the venue.

Rufat Kasamaj, 35, of High Road, Leyton, appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court earlier this month where he pleaded guilty to one count of rape.

PC Watson said: "The breaches of the licensing objectives in this case are so serious and the consequences are so tragic we would like the committee to consider revocation."

He wrote that two of the other girls were seen buying drinks with no challenge from bar staff despite looking "considerably less" than 18.

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One also reported she was served alcohol without age verification checks.

The girls became "very intoxicated", PC Watson said, and after one fell over twice, all four were ejected.

The girl who fell over, who was not the rape victim, is alleged to have slapped a female door supervisor, who then allegedly slammed the girl to the ground.

The female door supervisor was then seen running after the girl, PC Watson said, hitting her to the head and causing her to fall to the ground.

This represented "an excessive use of force", he added.

A council licensing officer said the supervisor was removed from working at the bar after an internal investigation.

In a second incident on the same date, six males allegedly became violent after being refused entry and, during a fight in front of the girls, the female door supervisor allegedly punched one of the males in an apparent "unprovoked assault".

One person was arrested in connection with this incident but no further action was taken, police confirmed.

PC Watson said the children's level of drunkenness and the lack of concern shown by door supervisors and the manager "is of real concern".

No after care was given to the girls and no attempt made to help them away safely, he added.

"Staff at the venue had adequate opportunities to care for these vulnerable children and ensure their safety.

"No evidence of any concern or awareness of these children's vulnerability can be witnessed."

Council teams supported the police's application.

A licensing officer said only one of the girls showed ID on entry, which later turned out to be fake.

One of the authority's children's social care team said ejecting the girls rather than leaving them with a responsible adult was a "significant error" and "greatly increased the individuals' vulnerability once ejected onto the street".

The Bat and Ball's current licence permits it to sell alcohol from 10am to midnight on Sundays to Wednesdays, and from 10am to 1am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The shopping centre issued a representation in support of the bar, run by Urban Pubs and Bars, saying it had been a "great addition" to Westfield since opening in 2015.

In a letter, it said: "The owners and operators of Bat and Ball have always had a good relationship with the Westfield team and has been a good tenant, working proactively with us in all aspects of its operation.

"Since the incidents, we have met with both the police and the licence holder to discuss the situation and what can be improved.

"Whilst we are saddened to hear of the events triggering the review application, the premises has historically operated without issue or concern. We support the continued trading of the premises and operator in line with its existing premises licence."

An Urban Pubs and Bars spokesperson said it was not appropriate for it to comment ahead of the hearing.

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