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Home Kent News Article
by Nicola Jordan
A strip club boss has stepped down as a magistrate "for the time being" amid concerns of a conflict of interest.
Steven Ross Hutchins's double life was revealed when he spoke at a Maidstone town council meeting in favour of his employer's proposal for a nude lap dancing club in the county town.
The 34-year-old, pictured left, works as an operations manager for the Aaron P Stone Group, which put forward an application to open a sex entertainment venue at the old Loder and Payne's building in Bank Street.
The proposal was thrown out by the council. It is understood a senior judge has now intervened and the issue was referred to the Judicial Council.
A statement from the Judicial Office said: "Mr Hutchins has not been suspended but has voluntarily refrained from sitting for the time being.
"The matter is being referred to the local Advisory Committee to consider whether a conduct investigation is appropriate."
Speaking after the licensing committee, Mr Hutchins said there was no conflict between his positions as a magistrate and club manager – and stressed he was speaking at the licensing meeting entirely as a club manager.
He said: "I'm very disappointed with the decision and feel our application has been misunderstood by the public, the press and the council.
"I can confirm work has ceased on the whole project."
Mr Hutchins said his job with the Aaron Stone Group had no impact on his position as a magistrate.
He said: "It's important in law that you give a broad spectrum of life experience and that’s why you sit on a panel of three."
Mr Hutchins refused to comment on his decision to step down temporarily from the Medway bench.
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