Man accused over lockdown rave cleared after police fail to attend court

A man accused of helping to organise a rave in breach of lockdown rules has avoided a potential £10,000 fine after two police officers due to give evidence against him failed to attend court.

Robert Bagot, 33, of Ilford, was charged with helping to organise the event on Childers Street in Deptford, south London, on November 22 last year.

At a previous hearing in February, the court heard Bagot accepted being present but denied being an organiser.

The court was told that the issue in the case was whether lending sound equipment to the rave would meet the definition of organising the event.

At a brief hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday, the day Bagot’s trial was due to go ahead, prosecutor Luke Staton said the two arresting officers had failed to attend court.

As a result, the prosecution could offer no evidence against Mr Bagot.

A general view of Westminster Magistrates' Court, London (Rick Findler/PA)
A general view of Westminster Magistrates’ Court, London (Rick Findler/PA)

District Judge Karim Ezzat heard that officers had been properly warned of the court date and the fact their presence was required, and decided to proceed in their absence.

Mr Staton said: “The witnesses were warned to attend, they have not done so, as a result there is insufficient evidence to proceed, so the crown offers no evidence.”

Mr Bagot was subsequently acquitted of one count of “holding or being involved in holding a rave-type gathering in England of more than 30 people indoors”, by Judge Ezzat.

The charge is an offence under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations and carries a maximum £10,000 fine.

A second defendant Henok Yefru, 32, of Leyton, who had been due to stand trial alongside Bagot on the same charge, had the case against him discontinued ahead of Monday’s hearing.

Bagot’s acquittal coincided with so-called Freedom Day, the day when all coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England.