Camden club’s licence reviewed after violent attack

THE Camden nightclub which hosted former Atomic Kitten singer Liz McClarnon’s 30th birthday is having its licence reviewed after two men were glassed in the face last month.

The review, brought against the venue by Camden police, is supported by residents and associations who have told of their “utter horror” and “fear” following the glassing incident last month.

A crime report, made at 5am on March 20, described the incident which resulted in “a number of patrons being injured from glass receptacles” in the club’s basement.

In the middle of an argument a man who tried to intervene was hit over the head with a bottle, according to the report. When he turned around to see who had hit him, he was hit again, this time in the face, with a glass – and collapsed.

After a friend, who had also been hit in the face with a bottle, dragged the fallen man out of the way, bouncers intervened and the pair were rushed to the Royal Free Hospital where they received stitches for cuts.

Camden Police Superintendent Roger Smalley has raised serious concerns about the way staff at Shaka Zula dealt with the assaults.

In his report to the committee he quotes one of the suspects as describing the scene as “absolute chaos and everything going crazy.” The suspect also said that none of the door staff seemed to be doing anything about the fight.

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Supt Smalley said CCTV was “not available” at the time of the incident and staff said the following day that they had had problems copying the CCTV and so it was not available when the police questioned the suspects. He also said no crime scene was preserved by door staff because “this apparently happened close to the dance floor”. When police arrived, people were already dancing again.

The �5.5million club and restaurant, a favourite with Sam Fox and Amy Winehouse, has been forced to start serving all drinks sold after 11.30pm in plastic glasses until the licensing challenge can be heard.

Police say three other serious incidents have happened at Shaka Zulu within the last three months, including a man being arrested for attempting to spit at and punch a security guard, allegations of assaults by security guards and a breach of CCTV conditions of the licence. A woman was also punched on the side of her head.

Supporting the review Pat Thomas, secretary of the Harmood Street Residents Association, said the group was “disturbed, but not altogether surprised” to hear of the recent violence and would like Shaka Zulu to return to its original closing time of midnight.

Vijay Mistry, who lives near the venue, said: “It is with utter horror, fear and disgust what we have witnessed when the patrons are dispersing from Shaka Zulu.”

The police are recommending that Shaka Zulu be forced to implement a set of stringent new conditions to keep its licence. The decision will be made at a Camden panel meeting tonight.

A spokesman for Shaka Zulu said: “Shaka Zulu has acted properly in every way. This is an isolated incident and entirely unrepresentative of the high-end dining experience thousands of customers enjoy with us each and every week.”