THE FATE of a minimarket in breach of its licence hangs in the balance after authorities disagreed strongly over evidence and the handling of the case.

Mr Goldi Singh Gurwara, licensee of Anatolia Food Centre, on Oxford Street, in High Wycombe, must wait to learn the outcome of a licensing sub-committee hearing after his lawyer, Thames Valley Police (TVP) and Buckinghamshire Council licencing officers clashed over several points of administration.

The licence review, brought by a council officer on behalf of TVP, is for the ‘prevention of public nuisance and crime and disorder’.

READ MORE: Wycombe shop in hot water again amid probe into ‘public nuisance, crime and disorder’

Mr Gurwara was called to appear before committee after fresh licencing breaches in October landed him again in hot water.

But his lawyer took to task what he believed were ‘administrative and clerical errors’ on the part of council licencing officer Brian Whittall.

Early on he questioned whether the hearing should go ahead, arguing the ‘amplification of evidence’ by Mr Whittall was “quite concerning”.

He said the licencing officer was acting “almost as an advocate for the police” and that this was “representation by the back door”. Adding: “There is one party in this…the police. But the evidence is coming from Mr Whittall which is just wrong.”

The council’s own legal officer said Mr Whittall’s ‘evidence’ as a “witness” was “legitimate”. Adding: “This is not a court of law.”

“We have to have the full picture in order for the panel to make a…decision,” they said.

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When a licencing officer from TVP cited claims of ‘licence breaches and policy, suspected stolen property, illegal tobacco products, and a suspected offensive weapon’, Mr Gurwara’s lawyer said there had been an “ambush” and pressed on whether TVP had provided evidence for stolen and illegal property “in advance”.

The TVP representative said although it had tried to educate Mr Gurwara, he is “not listening to what is being said”.

They added Mr Gurwara “will admit things to please the authorities, to smooth the waters”, but that he takes no ‘real responsibility’.

They said TVP gave Mr Gurwara “chance, after chance, after chance”, before asking for his licence to be revoked.

Mr Gurwara’s lawyer said this was a “straightforward case, but poorly administered”. He offered to have Anatolia staff complete refresher training on aspects of the licence “within six weeks”.

He also said the October breaches surrounding improper labelling, allegations of alcohol and tobacco stored under the till, and staff use of CCTV are resolved, though he provided no evidence.

Sub-committee members retired to consider the hearing. Their decision will be sent directly to interested parties.

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