Ilford man cleared of organising rave after police fail to attend court
Tess de la Mare, PA
- Credit: PA WIRE
An Ilford man accused of helping to organise a rave in breach of coronavirus rules has been cleared after two police officers due to give evidence against him failed to attend court.
Robert Bagot, 33, of Audrey Road, was charged in connection with an event in Childers Street, Deptford, south London, on November 22.
At a previous court hearing at City of London Magistrates Court in February, Bagot accepted being present but denied being an organiser.
The court was told that the issue in the case was whether lending sound equipment to the rave would meet the definition of organising the event.
At a hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday (July 19), the day Bagot’s trial was due to go ahead, prosecutor Luke Staton said the two arresting officers had failed to attend court.
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As a result, the prosecution could offer no evidence against Bagot.
District Judge Karim Ezzat heard that officers had been properly warned of the court date and the fact their presence was required. He decided to proceed in their absence.
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Mr Staton said: “The witnesses were warned to attend, they have not done so.
"As a result there is insufficient evidence to proceed, so the crown offers no evidence.”
Bagot was acquitted of one count of “holding or being involved in holding a rave-type gathering in England of more than 30 people indoors” by Judge Ezzat.
The charge is an offence under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations and carries a maximum £10,000 fine.
Henok Yefru, 32, of Belgrave Road, Leyton, who had been due to stand trial alongside Bagot on the same charge, had the case against him discontinued ahead of Monday’s hearing.
Bagot’s acquittal coincided with Freedom Day, the day when almost all coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England.