King­pin’s club shut af­ter lap dancer is dumped on street

Par­tially clothed woman left on road af­ter ‘sex with cus­tomer’ row

The Herald - - NEWS - GERRY BRAIDEN

A LAP-DANC­ING club owned by one of the main play­ers in Scot­land’s adult en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try has been closed af­ter a par­tially clothed em­ployee was dumped un­con­scious on the street.

Di­a­monds Dolls has had its li­cence sus­pended with im­me­di­ate ef­fect af­ter the lo­cal au­thor­ity was told the dancer, dressed only in a bra and jeans and in­tox­i­cated, had been dragged from the premises by stew­ards fol­low­ing a row with man­age­ment.

The venue will only be per­mit­ted to re­open when Po­lice Scot­land and li­cens­ing of­fi­cials in Glasgow are sat­is­fied it has tight­ened its in­ter­nal pro­ce­dures.

Di­a­mond Dolls is owned by Steven Mac­Don­ald, named by three of Scot­land’s most se­nior judges last year in a long-run­ning Pro­ceeds of Crime ac­tion as hav­ing en­gaged in fraud­u­lent prac­tices to buy the venue.

Mr Mac­Don­ald had not been charged with any of­fence and he had said the al­le­ga­tions against him were “with­out foun­da­tion”.

Glasgow’s li­cens­ing board heard po­lice had seized the club’s CCTV sys­tem two days af­ter first at­tend­ing the in­ci­dent when they were handed footage recorded by cam­eras at the neigh­bour­ing House of Fraser.

Po­lice said one se­nior worker who de­scribed her­self as a “House Madame” told them the ejected dancer had be­come ag­gres­sive as she “was un­happy at not be­ing propo­si­tioned for sex by a cus­tomer”.

The board was also told that when the dancer, named as “Cherie”, had spo­ken with the po­lice more than a week later she would not make a com­plaint be­cause she feared ret­ri­bu­tion, while the head ste­ward re­fused to com­ment when asked by the force what its pol­icy was over con­tact­ing them over in­ci­dents.

Since last Oc­to­ber’s in­ci­dent a num­ber of the stew­ards in­volved have been struck off by their in­dus­try watch­dog, al­though their man­ager re­mains in place.

But the club’s le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tive ar­gued the dancer was nei­ther un­con­scious nor in­tox­i­cated when she was re­moved from the premises and had been “play­ing pos­sum” to avoid po­lice at­ten­tion for ear­lier be­hav­iour.

Archie Maciver de­nied the club’s “floor man­ager” was de­scribed in­ter­nally as a house madam and that the ini­tial row be­tween the dancer and reg­u­lar cus­tomer had been in­sti­gated by sex­ual propo­si­tions, while the ste­ward’s com­ments had been taken out of con­text.

The lawyer added that while the club ac­knowl­edged the man­ner in which the dancer had been ejected fell short of what was ac­cept­able, man­age­ment had been rea­son­able with the fe­male, whom they knew, be­fore­hand, had co-op­er­ated with po­lice and tight­ened man­age­ment prac­tices in the af­ter­math.

CCTV showed the stew­ards of­fer­ing no as­sis­tance as mem­bers of the pub­lic called paramedics and told how Mr Mac­Don­ald, named as the com­pany of­fi­cer, had watched from an up­stairs of­fice. It later emerged that dur­ing her row with man­age­ment, Cherie had armed her­self with a screw­driver, with which she had dam­aged fur­ni­ture.

In its com­plaint, Po­lice Scot­land said: “The fe­male re­fused to pro­vide a state­ment or make any form of crim­i­nal com­plaint to of­fi­cers de­spite be­ing en­cour­aged to do so, cit­ing fears of ret­ri­bu­tion.”

A spokesman for Glasgow Li­cens­ing Board: “The way in which Di­a­mond Dolls han­dled this sit­u­a­tion was com­pletely un­ac­cept­able. The board was not sat­is­fied by the as­sur­ances from the premises that a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion could not arise again in fu­ture.

“The premises li­cence will re­main sus­pended un­til such time as is­sues with the CCTV sys­tem and train­ing on the re­spon­si­ble op­er­a­tion of li­censed premises, in­clud­ing con­flict res­o­lu­tion and in­ci­dent re­port­ing, have been re­solved sat­is­fac­to­rily.”

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