Future of city centre bar under review following violent Boxing Day brawl

The bar linked to a brawl in which a promising young boxer was stabbed is to find out if it will be shut down.

During a Boxing Day event at The Safe House bar on Victoria Street, a large-scale altercation broke out in the street. After spilling out onto Peter Street, a 21-year-old man was found with severe injuries.

Shortly before 5.30am on December 27, up-and-coming fighter Anthony Dodson was taken to hospital, with his condition said to now be improving. As a result of the disorder, Liverpool Council moved quickly to temporarily suspend The Safe House’s licence after a request by Merseyside Police.

Now a full hearing will take place tomorrow to determine the future of the city centre nightspot.

Alongside Mr Dodson, three other men also suffered serious injuries, including a 21-year-old who was stabbed in the back and a 23-year-old who suffered lacerations to his head after being struck with a glass or bottle. A 20-year-old man was later traced who had also suffered lacerations to the head.

A total of seven men have been charged to date in connection with the incident. A second hearing is expected to take place at Liverpool Crown Court on 2 February.

The initial review was instigated following the “opinion of a senior police officer of Merseyside Police the premises are associated with serious crime and disorder.” Last month, members of the local authority’s licensing and gambling sub-committee moved to put a temporary halt on trading ahead of tomorrow’s hearing as it was suggested by force officials that there were “no conditions that will allay the fear that further serious violence will take place and the threat to public safety, due to the possible risk of a retaliatory attack at the premises.”

Licence holder Mashach Harris did not object to the temporary suspension.

Under its existing terms, The Safe House is permitted to open and sell alcohol on the premises from 10am to 4am daily. December’s hearing was told Merseyside Police attended the premises at 5.40am on 27 December, it was still open and there were approximately 50 customers inside – despite a terminal hour of 4am.

In assessing the viability of the business going forward, the three-person sub-committee can modify its licence conditions, exclude a licensable activity, remove the designated premises supervisor, suspend the licence for a further period or revoke it entirely. Any appeal against the final review decision may be made to a magistrates’ court within 21 days of the appellant being notified of the licensing authority’s determination on the review.

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