Yesterday, Judge Michael Connellan refused to renew the annual music and dance licences of the Barclay Club on South William St, Dublin 2.
The club had its licence renewal applications turned down by the Dublin District Court because of garda objections against the character of the licence holders.
However, the club will be allowed to remain open as its owners confirmed they will appeal the decision to the circuit court.
Judge Michael Connellan ruled yesterday that he accepted the evidence of two garda witnesses that an illegal act of a sexual nature had taken place in the club on October 26 last year.
The court heard that two officers from Pearse St garda station had observed a naked female dancer being groped by a male customer in an upstairs room called the Clarendon Suite.
However, several members of the Barclay’s staff rejected the allegation by claiming the club operated a strict “no touching” policy. In addition, the customer Paul Greenhalgh, said the dancer Lauren Langley had stumbled after seeing the gardaí enter the room and he had put up his hand to prevent her fall.
However, Judge Connellan rejected the evidence of Mr Greenhalgh because he had, by his own admission, drunk 10 pints on the night he had visited the club and was probably “under the influence”.
Judge Connellan said the club’s general manager Gerry Harrington, who also witnessed the dance between Mr Greenhalgh and Ms Langley, was in complete denial about the garda evidence.
Judge Connellan also voiced concern that the power to grant theatre licences rested with the Revenue Commissioners without the matter being heard in open court.
He claimed the mechanism for granting such licences did not afford the garda any opportunity to raise objections, even though they were meant to enforce the law in this area.
After the ruling, Barclay’s issued a statement in which the club’s owners expressed disappointment at the judgment.
“The overwhelming weight of evidence was that the alleged activities occurred despite extensive precautions taken by the management to prevent patrons from touching performers,” the statement said.