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Gallery nightclub, Maidstone could have licence reinstated after Andre Bent death

A nightclub which had its licence suspended in the wake of a suspected murder committed after a gig at the venue, may be allowed to open again, following a behind-closed-doors council meeting.

Andre Bent, 21, was fatally stabbed in Jubilee Square, Maidstone following a well-attended performance by rapper MoStack, real name Montell Daley, at the Gallery in Bank Street, in an incident which has since seen 11 people arrested.

Police outside the Gallery nightclub. Picture: Jim Bennett
Police outside the Gallery nightclub. Picture: Jim Bennett

Kent Police applied to review the club's premises licence earlier this month, on the grounds of "serious crime", which was first revealed after an email exchange between a councillor and a member of the town hall's legal team was shared with KentOnline.

The council then announced the Gallery's licence was being suspended ahead of the full review, which was heard by a sub-committee on Monday.

At the Town Hall meeting, in which members of the press and public were asked to leave due to the "sensitive nature of the case", a decision was made for its licence to be reinstated, providing certain conditions are met.

Maidstone Borough Council has not told KentOnline what those conditions are.

Superintendent Warren Franklin of Kent Police said in his initial application for a review: "It has now come to light that the suspects, including the 16-year-old, were inside the Gallery club, and left shortly before the serious disorder took place.

Andre Bent (right) with sister Michaela and cousin Louis
Andre Bent (right) with sister Michaela and cousin Louis

"The suspects were part of a group who were allowed access to the VIP area of the club during a live DJ event.

"No ID checks or searches were made of this group at the entrance. It is very likely the 16-year-old was consuming alcohol.

"The event in question was not subject of proper due diligence checks by the club, and a specific risk assessment was not in place."

It added: "The premises have failed to take reasonable steps to uphold the licensing objectives relating to crime and disorder, public safety and the protection of children."

Initially, club director Trevor Modell insisted everyone in attendance was searched at the event on August 24, before later admitting only a few bags were actually checked.

Police outside the Gallery nightclub. Picture: Jim Bennett
Police outside the Gallery nightclub. Picture: Jim Bennett

He then announced he was planning to close the venue and sell up following a huge backlash on social media, in which more than 5,000 people demanded it shut for good.

Mr Modell refused to comment on Monday's verdict when approached.

The 16-year-old boy accused of Mr Bent's murder, along with six others charged with violent disorder, will appear at The Old Bailey on October 14, when pleas are expected to be taken.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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