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Brighton party house fine quashed
A couple prosecuted for running a party house in Brighton have had their conviction quashed after the council official involved died.
Helen Sywak, 47, and Pasquale Biscardi, 33, were the first people in the city to be convicted after letting properties to noisy groups.
They were fined £12,000 after a court was told about the tenants in their adjoining properties in Cliff Road, close to Brighton Marina.
But now the couple have been told not only will they not have to pay the fine, but their legal costs of £70,000 will also be paid out of the public purse after a judge threw the case out.
Their lawyer Martin Cray argued that the couple had never been made aware a noise abatement notice had been served on them because it was delivered to the rented home at the centre of the problems while the couple were living in Cyprus.
The property was rented out to a range of groups, including school groups, people running the Brighton Marathon and large families.
Before the council took legal action, the couple had worked with officials to resolve problems with tenants, including fitting soundproof doors Ms Sywak said: “We did get the odd hen party but we didn’t know when they were booking and it was never advertised as such.
“We never felt we were guilty and felt it was a case worth fighting. Our names were completely muddied.
“Apart from this we have always had good experiences with the council and officers have always been kind.
Brighton and Hove City Council last night insisted the prosecution failed because a member of staff died.
A council spokesman said: “The defendants have certainly not proven that the nuisance we prosecuted them for did not exist.
“We also have a clear audit trail demonstrating that the appropriate abatement notices were indeed served on the defendants.
“The most recent judgement is based on the fact that our investigating officer tragically died late last year and was therefore not available to answer questions in person at this new hearing about issues the judge wanted further clarification on.
“The costs are being paid out of national funds, not by the council.
“We’re disappointed with this outcome, but we have no regrets about pursuing this case.”
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