Column: It's high time that nightclubs took some responsibility

One of Britain's oldest nightclubs hit the headlines last week when it was accused of allowing a teenager to fall into the hands of two sex attackers after it kicked her out because she was drunk. The 19 year-old student, who was ejected and became separated from friends, was abducted and driven to an industrial estate where she was brutally raped and sexually assaulted.

Justice Mary Stacey accused Snobs nightclub in Birmingham of ‘abandoning’ the girl to be picked off ‘like prey’ by two sex attackers who took the girl’s virginity. The judge even suggested the nightclub was partly to blame for the rape by saying they had ‘created the circumstances for the crime to occur.’

After being thrown out, the student was lured into a transit van by Zaheer Abbas, aged 30, and Sajad Hussain, 35, both of Birmingham. Abbas was jailed for 11 years after being convicted of rape while Hussain was sentenced to six years for sexual assault. The judge also criticised the venue’s cheap drinks promotions and accused them of acting ‘irresponsibly towards their customers’.

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Someone give that judge a pat on the back. It seems to me venues are happy to promote cheap alcohol but not so happy to pick up the piece.

We’ve all seen them, young girls (and lads) incapable of making a phone call. Although we have to take some personal responsibility, we also have a responsibility towards friends. Whenever we go out there’s an unwritten rule – we never abandon a mate. Establishments are more than happy to serve cheap drinks, yet they also owe their customers a duty of care. If they have sold alcohol all night to someone who finds themselves intoxicated and alone there should be a policy to ensure that customer is taken home by a reputable taxi firm.

As the judge pointed out: “We have heard how the establishment carries on serving drinks to students who have had far more than enough to drink. Then they fail to take responsibility for the students, they removed (her) after she collapsed inside. Snobs abandoned her on the street where she was prey to the likes of Abbas and Hussain.”

The judge also said the case called into question the club’s fitness to hold a licence and referred it to licensing chiefs. She vowed to contact colleges and universities warning them of Snobs’ cheap drinks promotions, adding: “This was a deeply distressing case.”

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Sadly, it won’t be the first or last time this happens unless clubs start to show some responsibility. Whether this means refusing to serve them if they’ve had too much to drink or not throwing them out alone – something needs to be done.

As for this poor young girl, that one night out has left her scarred for life.

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