Mystery surrounds Durham pub 'shisha lounge' flyer

The Northern Echo: FINED: Bijan Samadi FINED: Bijan Samadi

A FOG of uncertainty surrounds a flyer inviting smokers to enjoy a shisha lounge at a North-East pub, after its owner denied ever running such an operation at the venue.

Durham County Council launched an investigation into an alleged shisha lounge at The Lodge, in Crossgate Moor, Durham City, after a supporter of Fresh, the anti-smoking campaign, produced a promotional leaflet she claimed had been pushed through the front door of her home in Newton Hall.

Bijan Samadi, The Lodge’s owner, was eventually charged with publishing and distributing a tobacco advertisement, an offence under the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002.

But at Consett Magistrates’ Court today (Tuesday, April 9), the council withdrew the charge.

Following a two-hour trial, Samadi, 49, was convicted of obstructing two officers sent to The Lodge to investigate the flyer.

However, in the witness box, he denied any knowledge of the leaflet and said he had never run a shisha lounge at the venue.

Asked to explain the flyer, he said: “I don’t know how it’s come about.

“There’s a lot of bad feeling from the neighbourhood towards The Lodge, from the officers I believe personally and from the council.”

However, asked by Sarah Grigor, the council’s lawyer, whether he believed it had been distributed maliciously, Samadi replied: “It’s very difficult to imagine somebody going through all that hassle.”

Trading standards officer Graham Blount and environmental health officer David Hall visited The Lodge, formerly the Pot and Glass, on June 12, last year.

But Samadi refused to answer their questions, the court heard.

Mr Hall said Samadi became very agitated and aggressive – a claim the pub owner denied, saying he had been helpful.

Mr Blount cautioned Samadi and the two officers left the premises.

Kevin Radford, the chair of the bench, said he and his fellow magistrates believed Samadi had intentionally obstructed the officers in the proper exercise of their function.

Samadi, who was of previous good character, was fined £400 and ordered to pay £265 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. He could have been fined up to £1,000.

Samadi declined to comment further afterwards.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:17pm Wed 10 Apr 13

handymanphil says...

Quote: "Trading standards officer Graham Blount and environmental health officer David Hall visited The Lodge, formerly the Pot and Glass, on June 12, last year." Big whup!. Any person is entitled to answer any question put to them by these turkeys with a simple "No Comment". That is an answer fully admissable in law-alothough magistrates usually take such an answer as an admission of guilt!
Quote: "Mr Blount cautioned Samadi and the two officers left the premises." Any ideas as to what he 'cautioned ' Mr Samadi about, considering that Mr Samadi gave no answers that could be cautionable?
End result is, of copurse, a £680 victory for the courts and some sort of satisfaction for the EHO's involved in this petty minded prosecution of an innocent man (assuming that we still abide by the rule of law that states a man is innocent until proven guilty! Mind you, you have to remember that since this law was introduced, that maxim seems to have gone out of the window bigtime!
Remember in future anyone unfortunate enough to be set upon by these low life enforcers-you must answer them, but "No Comment" will suffice!
I suppose that it never occurred to these amoebic brained EHO's that putting a leaflet through the door of a 'FRESH' member was simply to amplify just how much of a wind-up this really was!
Quote: "Trading standards officer Graham Blount and environmental health officer David Hall visited The Lodge, formerly the Pot and Glass, on June 12, last year." Big whup!. Any person is entitled to answer any question put to them by these turkeys with a simple "No Comment". That is an answer fully admissable in law-alothough magistrates usually take such an answer as an admission of guilt! Quote: "Mr Blount cautioned Samadi and the two officers left the premises." Any ideas as to what he 'cautioned ' Mr Samadi about, considering that Mr Samadi gave no answers that could be cautionable? End result is, of copurse, a £680 victory for the courts and some sort of satisfaction for the EHO's involved in this petty minded prosecution of an innocent man (assuming that we still abide by the rule of law that states a man is innocent until proven guilty! Mind you, you have to remember that since this law was introduced, that maxim seems to have gone out of the window bigtime! Remember in future anyone unfortunate enough to be set upon by these low life enforcers-you must answer them, but "No Comment" will suffice! I suppose that it never occurred to these amoebic brained EHO's that putting a leaflet through the door of a 'FRESH' member was simply to amplify just how much of a wind-up this really was! handymanphil

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree