Bristol off-licence can continue to sell alcohol despite police investigation

By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter

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Kellaway Convenience Store at 12 Kellaway Ave in Bishopston. (Photo: Google)

A Bristol off-licence whose owner is under investigation for assault will be able to continue to sell alcohol from new premises despite objections from police.

Wahid Ali runs Kellaway Premier Store at 12 Kellaway Avenue in Bishopston.

He is accused of assaulting a member of the public who entered the store on April 18.

But Bristol City Council granted Mr Ali permission to sell alcohol from 16 Kellaway Avenue when he shifts the store to the new and bigger premises next door.

Members of a licensing committee made their decision at a hearing where they heard evidence from Mr Ali’s legal representative, Mr S Gibson.

Mr Gibson told councillors his client had run Kellaway Premier Store “without incident” for five years, except for a “one off” incident in April.

Mr Ali pushed a customer to get him out of his store because the man had been swearing and making insults about Mr Ali’s deceased parents, the licensing committee heard.

“The member of the public had been in the store,” Mr Gibson said.

“He was swearing and was very insulting about Mr Ali’s mother and father who were recently deceased. Mr Ali became upset and pushed the customer, urging him to go away and leave them alone.

“That was it. That was the sum total of the alleged assault.”

Mr Gibson said Mr Ali showed the officer CCTV footage of the incident at the time but a problem with the cameras, which has since been fixed, meant the footage was automatically deleted before the police requested a copy nine days later.

But Avon and Somerset Constabulary licensing officer Louise Mowbray told the hearing police had body camera footage of the incident and Mr Gibson’s version of events was “incorrect”.

Ms Mowbray said she could not reveal the details of what happened, because the matter was under investigation, but said Mr Ali’s actions were “not proportionate”.

“At the moment, I would suggest the applicant is not fit or proper to have this licence in this place until this investigation is over,” she said.

But Mr Gibson said there was “very little” reason to refuse Mr Ali’s application and it would be inconsistent to do so when the store’s current licence was not under review as a result of the alleged assault.

“If something came to light that was incriminating against Mr Ali and maybe further action was taken down the line, of course you have the armoury of a review process on the new licence should that become necessary,” he said.

Mr Ali was granted a licence to sell alcohol at another convenience store in Bristol – Rehan Food Stores in Stapleton Road – five days after the incident.

Once it moves into 16 Kellaway Avenue, Kellaway Premier Store will be permitted to sell alcohol from 9am to 11pm on Mondays through Saturdays, and from 9am to 10pm on Sundays.

The committee refused a request by police to prevent the store from selling products containing more than six per cent alcohol, saying the condition was not “proportionate”.

On June 25, a police spokesman confirmed the force is investigating an allegation of assault and enquiries are ongoing, adding: “We have not made an arrest in this investigation at this time.”