Garlands shut down for three months after huge drugs bust
Six bags of Mkat were found behind the bar
Garlands has been ordered to close for three months after a judge was told the club is a “hub” for “blatant, obvious and prolonged” drug dealing.
Last week the Eberle Street venue was stormed by 140 police officers and two men were arrested after it was found class A drugs were being dealt “openly”.
Yesterday the police’s application for temporary closure of the gay club was successful, much to the anger of protesters located outside the magistrates’ court, who claimed the club is the “safest” in the city.
Police representative, Lee Bonner, told the court covert operations saw officers sold drugs on numerous occasions with the toilets being a “sweet shop”.
A member of staff was involved in selling substances and the security were ineffective in dealing with drug use.
Garlands were also accused of failing to contact the police following last week’s raids in attempt to rectify the problem.
The court heard issues of drug use were “so blatant, obvious and prolonged the only proper inference is there has been no need to hide the activities.”
Garlands representative Leo Charalambides, who described the club as “a home, a vital hub for the community” and accused the police of “shock and awe tactics”, suggested the club escape long-term closure but remain closed until Wednesday in order implement the necessary changes.
However district judge Richard Clancy ruled immediately closure was the only option.
He said: “I’m quite satisfied the club is in fact being disorderly.
“There are people there engaging in criminal behaviour and because of that it is necessary to prevent that behaviour from continuing or reoccurring.
“A closure notice is the proper way forward.”
Second year student Jack isn’t convinced by the ruling.
He told The Tab: “What was the point in raiding it if it’s only going to be closed and reopened? It’s only going to carry on, isn’t it?
“I would not say it’s the safest club at all, there are plenty of other gay clubs with much nicer atmospheres than Garlands.
“I don’t even see Garlands as a gay club. I’ve never felt very comfortable there and I’d never feel comfortable being openly gay in there.”