Bar shut down after 'bouncers help knife attack suspects escape'
Jacob Dirnhuber, Local Democracy Reporter
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A London Fields bar was shut down by the council after its security guards ushered suspects in a 1am knife fight out through a fire escape as the police raced to the scene.
Detectives slammed the Heart of Hackney for “an embedded culture of ignorance” as they called on councillors to revoke its licence following a series of punch-ups and Covid breaches.
Owner Ali Abcai and manager Huseyin Aksu were described as having “complete lack of competence” in a lengthy report by Scotland Yard’s licensing team.
Inspectors visited the Mare Street bar the day after a 1am mass brawl saw a reveller’s arm sliced open with a box cutter.
They found an incident log that was two years out of date, door staff refusing to search visitors, and a failure to operate any kind of track-and-trace.
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When asked whether they were aware of the stringent rules for re-opening pubs and clubs, Abcai and Aksu replied that they had seen a single Boris Johnson speech on TV and assumed they could open as normal.
The bar’s licence was suspended on the spot after the duo admitted to nine separate breaches – then permanently revoked after councillors concluded that there was no chance of reform.
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A police report demanding the bar’s closure recounted the night of the stabbing in detail.
It said that in the early hours of May 29 a victim arrived at hospital with a stab wound to the arm after a fight had broken out of the Heart of Hackney at about 12.30am.
The report read: "Despite knowledge of this at the time, the venue did not involve police, the crime scene initially went unsecured and it transpired that staff at the venue had ushered the suspects out via the fire escape so that they could escape."
The report revealed that a subsequent visit to the venue by licensing officers revealed multiple breaches of the conditions of the licence.
The report added: “[The owner] freely admitted that he was ignorant of these conditions since taking over the venue and didn’t even appear to know that he was the licence-holder."
There were also multiple Covid breaches, this included no seated service, loud music and dancing and no track-and-trace. Failings which were likely occurring since the first lockdown.