SPECIAL REPORT: Browne’s Avenue residents sleep peacefully after Court allows their petition and revokes liquor license of the 13 Bar
Browne’s Avenue residents were able to sleep peacefully last night, October 6, the first time in a year, following a successful petition to the Court.
Residents had been enduring the blast of loud music from a nearby bar, as well as the vulgar conversations, cursing, and noise that came along with it.
After several letters of complaint were written to online news entities and many reports were made to the Police, one resident decided to circulate a petition among fellow villagers.
A group of 22 petitioners sent a document, along with the signed petition to the Court, challenging the continued operations of 13 Bar, which is owned and operated by 31-year-old Prince Phillip of Marble Hill.
Reports are that the petitioners attempted to have the matter heard weeks ago, during a sitting of the Liquor Licence Court at the St. John’s Magistrates’ Court. However, it could not be dealt with at that time and was put on the docket for the sitting convened yesterday, October 6.
Having heard evidence from the petitioners, along with other residents who showed up for the matter, Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh – who initially granted the bar’s liquor licence – revoked it.
Walsh made her decision on three grounds: that the proprietor misled the court in order to obtain the licence; the derogatory manner in which the residents who complained about the noise were treated; and the fact that a university student was robbed of valuable education time due to the noise and conduct that emanated from the establishment.
Walsh chided Phillip for being disingenuous to the Court, since, when applying for the licence, his application spoke to a superette and not a bar.
There are two licences for which business owners can apply, depending on the establishment they wish to open. A Tavern Licence is granted specifically for bars, while a Bottle Licence would cover establishments such as superettes, supermarkets and shops.
Walsh says she would not have granted the licence for a bar since the location is in a residential area; however, the 13 Superette was subsequently transformed into the 13 Bar.
How Phillip and his patrons treated the residents was appalling, the Chief Magistrate said, as video and audio recordings presented to the Court captured customers cursing the homeowners in the foulest of language.
It was noted that Phillip thought he was above the law, since he reportedly told residents that he “had the Police in his pocket.” And residents say they saw both uniformed and plain-clothes officers at the bar, some driving their official vehicles.
The residents told the court that, at one point, they were successful in getting the Police to come to the area and close the bar, since Phillip was unable to produce his liquor licence.
An elderly man said that the young businessman immediately got on his phone, saying that he was going to call a deputy commissioner, who, the Court heard, frequents the establishment, as well.
Following the phone call, the officers, having received certain instructions from the person who was on the phone with Phillip, then gave him permission to reopen the bar, the man said.
The university student testified that he was unable to do his studies online, after having to return home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He says that, due to the time difference, he had classes at night; but he was unable to hear the lecturer on account of the conduct in the background.
Other residents gave testimony of how they had suffered, with one person who was in court for the proceedings describing their experiences as “living in pure hell.”