THE OWNER of a South Harrow bar in danger of losing its licence said he will take the fight to Magistrates' Court if he loses a review because he feels he has been unfairly punished.
Michael McGrath, who bought what is now called Nash's bar in 2004, admits the pub had its difficulties in 2010 but says the problems should not be blamed on him.
Last month the Observer revealed that the bar could lose its licence at a review at the end of March after a spate of late night lock-ins, fights and issues with CCTV.
During that time licence holder Mr McGrath had leased out the pub and says he feels those running it in that time should be punished, not him.
Speaking to the Observer, he said: “I feel it is very harsh. I leased out the pub in good faith thinking that the people who took it over would run it sensibly and within the licensing conditions. If those running the pub committed murder would I get charged? It doesn't seem right to me.
“I live permanently in Ireland, I couldn't be here to run it so when someone offered to lease it and deal with the day-to-day running I never thought this would happen. I am in the process of selling it anyway because it has proved to be more hassle than its worth to oversee it from Ireland.
”I'm not sure at this stage what the new owners will do with it, but I will fight the review anyway and will take it to court if I have to.”
Despite Mr McGrath's upset at the burden falling on him, licensing officer Sergeant John Crump, said as the owner he has to take responsibility.
He said: “I know that Mr McGrath feels hard done by the review because he leased out the pub but ultimately as the licence holder he has to take responsibility. Most people lease a premise for ease and cost but when the panel looks at the issues he is the only constant and remaining party.
“With regard to the new owners it is difficult to say how this will all impact them. I will have to review the way in which they might want to use the licence, if at all, but if they want it to be a pub in a similar mould we will still push for the licence to be revoked.”
The licence exists for the premises, not the owner, so the licence will be transferred to the new owners. If they opt to use the building to sell alcohol they could still have to face the licensing panel on March 30.