By Kevin Duguid
LAPDANCERS who broke rules at a Glasgow club were caught on camera dancing naked because it was what they were used to doing in Edinburgh, a court has heard.
Two girls were captured on CCTV removing their bikini bottoms and exposing themselves at Glasgow’s Spearmint Rhino lap-dancing venue.
The removal of their undergarments was just one reason why members of Glasgow Licensing Board refused the club’s owners a premises licence.
But a judge has now overturned the decision.
Members of the board had been told by licensing standards officers that dancers at the club were caught on camera removing their bikini bottoms.
Several dancers were also seen to make
“considerable contact’ with some customers.
But a judge Lord Eassie agreed with lawyers acting on behalf of the club, who claimed the board proceeded on a
“misconception’ of its powers. In his written judgement Lord Eassie gave details of the evidence the board considered when making the decision in May, 2009. He said:
“On May 2, 2009, when viewing the premises by means of closed circuit television, a licensing officer noticed at 11.45pm that two of the dancers removed their lower garments to knee level thereby exposing the genital area.
“It was explained to the board at its meeting that the two ladies in question were engaged only for that evening; that they were told at a
“briefing’ to retain their bikini bottoms. But they were accustomed to different practice in Edinburgh, whence they came.
“On the same occasion, and again using closed circuit television, but in a separate incident, the licensing officer in question reported having seen several dancers
“making considerable contact with patrons whilst performing.” “
The allegation was said to be in conflict with the board’s code of practice that there should be no touching between dancers and patrons during a
“performance’, said the judge.
Flyers issued by staff were also said to breach the board’s code of practice. Risk assessment and drink promotion rules were also alleged infringements put before the board.
Lord Eassie said that there were also unfounded allegations that dancers exposed themselves outside the club. He added:
“The report from the licensing standards officer also mentioned that the officer had received an unsubstantiated allegation that employees of the appellants handing out flyers had unzipped their catsuits and exposed their breasts. This suggestion was strongly disputed by the appellants before the board. “
However, despite the case put to the board by officials, Lord Eassie has now overturned the decision to refuse the premises licence.He upheld the appeal because none of the alleged breaches
“arose from or were related to the sale of alcohol.”
He said that in refusing the application for a premises licence in respect of the Drury Street premises the board had not appreciated or applied a
“proper statutory test.”
In addition to clubs in the US and Australia, Spearmint Rhino have branches in Birmingham, Bournemouth, Heathrow, Leicester, London and Sheffield.
The club in Glasgow opened in 2009, but had its licence withdrawn later that year. Its opening was fiercely opposed by Nationalist MSP Sandra White.