A decision on whether to revoke the licence of a bar locked in a dispute with the police will be made next week after the two sides clashed at a town hall hearing.
Lawyers representing Loco lounge in Station Road, Chingford, and Waltham Forest Police argued over a claim the bar had deliberately withheld CCTV evidence after a brawl.
Police are pushing for the venue to be closed, claiming the owners are not responsible licensees because some footage was not initially handed to police.
The venue’s owners refute this, claiming they were required to follow data protection procedures before eventually releasing all the CCTV.
Police had initially called for the bar’s opening hours to be reduced due to crime and anti-social behaviour.
But licensing officer PC Donna Wilcox decided to push for the closure following the dispute over the CCTV.
The two sides came face-to-face during a three-hour meeting of the licensing sub-committee last night.
Representing the police, barrister Matthew Butt claimed that, as well as concerns over crime and disorder and serious violence after midnight, the bar’s management made no attempt to call police about incidents and made a “blatant attempt to conceal” evidence.
David Dadds, representing Loco Lounge licensee, Natalie Keefe, and premises supervisor, Kerry O'Reilly, claimed the venue was being unfairly singled out by police and full footage of the incident was supplied within 24 hours of a data protection form being filled out by PC Wilcox.
Police insist the footage should have been handed over within 24 hours after the initial request, as required by the terms of the bar’s licence.
But Mr Dadds said he had advised the Mrs Keefe to insist the form was completed before handing over the footage and took “full responsibility” for the delay.
However, he accused the police of a “fishing expedition” and said officers were trawling through hours of CCTV to find licence breaches.
Mr Dadds said his clients believe the police review was triggered after an incident when a man suspected of using class A drugs pulled a knife on security staff when challenged.
The man was disarmed, but he was handed over to bouncers at nearby The Fountain, who were said to have known him, before police arrived.
Footage of the brawl in the forecourt of the bar, which spilled out into the nearby bus depot, was shown to the committee.
The video showed a man punch another man before the brawl started.
Mr Butt said: "Not handing over the footage was completely unacceptable.
“There is an obvious problem with late-night violence after midnight and we're not confident the premises holders should be trusted."
Of 14 representations made to the committee, 12 were in support of the bar remaining open.
Prior to the decision next week, Mr Dadds is asking the committee to consider putting extra conditions on bar’s licence or to otherwise consider reverting the licensing hours to 1.30am at weekends.