Suspended sentence and £15k fine for Cinema & Co owner
The owner of a Swansea independent cinema who refused to follow COVID rules has been given a 28 day suspended prison sentence and fined £15,000 at a hearing in Swansea Magistrates Court.
Swansea Council originally instructed Cinema & Co to close on Friday 19 November saying that that the business had not completed a COVID risk assessment, staff had no training on how to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and there was no implementation of the COVID pass scheme.
It was also noted that there was no signage advising customers to wear face coverings and there was inadequate cleaning products to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
A separate closure notice was also brought by the Welsh Government on Friday 26 November, however the business ignored this and repeatedly reopened.
Ms Redfern previously described the Welsh Government’s COVID pass regulations as “discriminatory and unlawful”.
Anna Redfern, who was accompanied in court by former Senedd member Neil McAvoy had issued a press release prior to the hearing stating that she would be pleading not guilty to all charges.
However once before District Judge Neale Thomas, Redfern pleaded guilty to contempt of court charges after failing to comply with the orders of the previous court hearing on 30 November. She also admitted to criminal damage and failing to comply with enforcement officers.
The court heard that following the previous court order for her to close, the cinema had opened on December 1, 2, 3 and 5. Ms Redfern also sent a letter to the council indicating that she would not be complying with the closure notice.
The council took further action to enforce the closure on 10 December by bolting the cinema’s shutters to the floor.
In court, District Judge Thomas said: “Ms Redfern makes choices and she ignores the law and expects the law to treat her with special dispensation. The consequences were entirely foreseeable.”
Besides the £15,000 fine, she was also ordered to pay the council’s costs of £9,000. This fine was a 30% reduction of what she could have faced, thanks to her guilty plea. She has 56 days to pay.
Outside the court, Anna Redfern said she would now comply with all measures in order to reopen her business. She also said that she would be taking time to look after her terminally ill mother and her son.
Broadcast media were prevented from recording Ms Redfern’s statement by her supporters who confronted them.
Following the court decision, a spokesman from Swansea council said: “Throughout this period we have tried to support Cinema and Co to do everything needed to keep the public safe when visiting the venue.
“Hundreds of businesses in Swansea have done what they have needed to, for the benefit of their customers and their staff.
“We have tried to work with Cinema & Co to ensure their business is safe. However, all our efforts, including enforcement were not taken on board.
“We hope Cinema and Co will now work with us to introduce measures so that it can operate safely.
“We will continue to work with all businesses in the city while the pandemic is ongoing to ensure they are safe and do not put the health and wellbeing of visitors at risk.”
(Lead image: Cinema & Co)
Scratch and Sniff menu makes “perfect scents” for Rasoi
Free bus travel returns to Swansea this Easter
TV’s Owain Wyn Evans tells audience to feel the fear – and take the plunge
Dumped ferrets found on the roadside search for homes this National Ferret Day
Thrive Women’s Aid appoints Liz Downie as its new CEO
Two Llandeilo dental practices stop NHS patient treatments
High profile Swansea sports people recognised in city awards
Over 29% of drivers unaware they could face £1,000 fine for their licence
Margam Country Park’s adventure playground named one of the best in Britain
Police scale back search for missing Pembroke Dock man
Fight on Neath train left so much blood in carriage it had to be taken out of service to be cleaned
New council houses completed in West Cross
Motor industry entrepreneurs promise city jobs boost in Swansea office expansion
Swansea University named happiest university in Wales – and third happiest in the UK, according to AI analysis
Milford Haven and Port Talbot joint Freeport bid successful
First Minister announces £750,000 fund for tidal lagoon research
New location announced for Swansea’s Krazy Races soapbox derby
Two hospitalised after Horton garage fire
Student design skills set to help city’s climate campaign
New pipe provides safe crossing for otters under busy Kidwelly road
Swansea5 days ago
Housing association set to transform empty Kingsway office building into new HQ and affordable flats
Business4 days ago
Brewery opens new Llanelli taproom and pizzeria thanks to ‘Town Centre Loan’
Swansea7 days ago
Leaked letter shows Council leaders concerned Welsh Government bus funding cuts will cut-off communities
Swansea2 days ago
Swansea Council could be crowned best in UK
Dyfed Powys Police5 days ago
Police investigate sudden death of Llanelli man
Sport4 days ago
Bluetits founder honoured on the Women’s Hour Power List: Women in Sport 2023
Swansea3 days ago
Popular marina swing bridge to be upgraded
Business3 days ago
Insulation firm opens £1m Maesteg innovation centre