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Gallery nightclub landlord secures shadow licence for 'protection' after Andre Bent 'murder' in Maidstone

The landlord of a nightclub which had its licence suspended in the wake of a suspected murder has secured "protection" for the club against any future controversy.

Andre Bent, 21, was fatally stabbed in a huge brawl in Jubilee Square, Maidstone, following a performance by rapper MoStack, real name Montell Daley, at Gallery in Bank Street last summer.

Police and forensics outside the Gallery Nightclub. Picture: Jim Bennett
Police and forensics outside the Gallery Nightclub. Picture: Jim Bennett

Thirteen people have since been arrested, including a 16-year-old boy who is accused of Mr Bent’s murder, and will go on trial later this year.

Police applied to review the club’s premises licence, which was suspended ahead of a formal hearing in October.

At that hearing the council committee decided Gallery could reopen providing it met some 22 agreed conditions, including making sure all visitors are scanned for knives.

Day-to-day management of the venue, which has held a number of events since welcoming punters back on Halloween, has since changed hands but landlord, Century Buildings (Rochester) Limited, has now applied for what is known as a shadow licence.

Maidstone Borough Council documents describe this as "a common situation" where there are concerns that the tenant's actions "could have a negative impact on the licence due to poor management of the premises".

Andre Bent died near Gallery nightclub in August
Andre Bent died near Gallery nightclub in August

This essentially protects the landlord from any future licensing constraints brought about by controversy at the club and means such conditions would apply only to tenants at the time and not the owner of the building.

Earlier this month, the new conditions were passed without comment from a council committee.

A couple who previously objected to the shadow licence withdrew their objections before the hearing began.

Century Buildings Rochester Limited's agent was present at the committee, but declined an approach to comment.

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