An Aberaeron couple pleaded guilty to coronavirus restrictions and public order offences before the start of a scheduled trial in Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 18 May 2021.
David James and Meinir Bowen of the Castle Hotel, Market Street, Aberaeron, were accused of offences that took place on the night of 4 December 2020 after Ceredigion County Council Public Protection officers and a Dyfed-Powys Police Officer inspected their hotel that evening having heard drunken voices from within the premises.
The court heard that after being permitted entry to the bar of the hotel, the officers were faced with verbal abuse from David James. The couple appeared intoxicated and officers identified, after viewing the premises’ CCTV, another male had been present at the bar with the couple beforehand.
David James became increasingly obstructive and continued to act in an abusive manner towards the officers outside the premises. Footage of both the CCTV and of the offensive behaviour were recorded on the Council officers’ body cameras which were presented as evidence in court.
David James pleaded guilty to three counts of public order offences contrary to section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986, obstruction of officers exercising their functions, and permitting the supply of alcohol when not permitted. Meinir Bowen pleaded guilty to three counts of public order offences, again contrary to section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986.
The couple’s barrister, Matt Jackson, stated in mitigation that this had been a very difficult period for the couple and that they were very remorseful.
The Chair of the Magistrates’ told the couple that this was a frightening and unnecessary incident that the officers should not have had to face during their ordinary working day. Bowen was fined £450 for each of the three public order offences, ordered to pay £300 costs, a surcharge of £135, and compensation of £50 to each of the three officers. James was fined £1500 for the obstruction offence, £500 for each of the three public order offences, and £1000 for serving alcohol when not permitted. He was ordered to pay £300 costs, a surcharge of £190, and compensation of £50 to each of the three officers; a total fine of £6,575.
The Chair summed up by stating that everyone has been under a great deal of pressure recently, but it was only the defendants who put themselves in a position where they found themselves in court.
Police Sergeant Richard Marshall said: “We are grateful to the Court for backing up the excellent work done by Council and Police Officers. Nobody goes to work to be abused. Public Order, Anti-Social Behaviour, Alcohol Licensing and Public Safety are key areas of joint work for Council and Police. Throughout the Covid-19 period we have conducted joint visits to premises throughout the County and these will be continuing over the Summer.”