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Brixton Academy licence suspended after fatal crush Published Date: 23/12/2022

The Brixton 02 Academy's licence has been suspended as it emerged concerns were raised about the strength of the front doors nearly three years before a fatal crush at a concert.

The BBC reported that LB of Lambeth councillors met earlier and decided to take the "interim decision" to suspend the academy's licence following the "severity of events" and "risks to public safety" from "a lack of crowd control at the front doors", until a full hearing takes place on 16 January.

During the council meeting, the Metropolitan Police said there had been a similar crush on 2 February 2020 when concerns were raised about the strength of the front doors during a concert by Naira Marley, another Afrobeats singer.

The MET Police asked Lambeth Council's licensing sub-committee to suspend the licence throughout the its investigation. The owners instead had offered to remain closed for 28 days.

Gerald Gouriet KC, representing the MET, reportedly said the owner's offer to temporarily close was "inappropriate and wrong", continuing:

"It is not right, I suggest, to leave a decision as serious as this one in the hands of the licencee... Whilst what happened last Thursday of course was exceptional, no one should begin to think that it was unique or could not happen again."

Stephen Walsh KC, representing the Academy Music Group, told councillors: "It is clearly far too early, as the police have accepted, to draw any conclusions about the causes of the tragedy, let alone to point the finger of blame at any party or parties."

He said: "The O2 Academy Brixton recognises the gravity of the events which occurred on the night of 15 December, and expresses its sincere condolences to the families of those who died during the tragic incident, and its genuine concerns for anyone affected by it.

"The licence holder, Academy Music Group Limited, is committed to ensuring that vital lessons are learned through its own detailed internal investigation."

Councillor Fred Cowell said of the interim suspension: "Given the severity of events of the 15 December, the risks to public safety as a consequence of, in particular, serious disorder rising from a lack of crowd control at the front doors of the venue remain high if the venue were able to operate as before."