COVID-19: PARTY ORGANISER FINED:
Charges Against Other Residents at Same Address Withdrawn
On Thursday 25 March 2021,The Nottingham Post's Legal Affairs Correspondent, Rebecca Sherdley, reported on a Magistrate's Court hearing of a case where students were charged under Covid-19 regulations with holding or being involved in holding a gathering with approximately 50 present at a property in Harlaxton Drive, Lenton on 11 September 2020.
Student breached Covid rules when people turned up to his 21st party
Five other young men will not be prosecuted after being charged
Five young men will not be prosecuted after being charged with breaching Covid rules after another student allowed people to turn up at his 21st birthday party.
Joel Murphey held the gathering in Harlaxton Drive, Lenton, which resulted in him and five other residents charged with holding or being involved in holding a gathering with approximately 50 people present.
After Murphey pleaded guilty, prosecutor Tom Oates said: "In light of his plea, charges against all those four defendants are withdrawn".
They were: Tom Evans, 21; Joshua James, 21; Stuart Lesley, 20; Chris Osborne, 20, all of the same address in Harlaxton Drive.
Another resident of the address, student Bailey Stancer, 19, had pleaded not guilty to the identical charge. His case has since been discontinued administratively and he will not face trial in August.
Nottingham Magistrates' court heard Murphey, 21, who is a second year politics and business student, lives with five students at the address.
Community protection officers received a noise complaint from a local resident after the party kicked off in Harlaxton Drive, Lenton, on September 11 last year.
Body worn police video footage clearly showed people in attendance dressed as though they were attending a party of some form, the court heard.
After details were taken from the residents, police decided to return the following morning to discuss matters with the residents. A fixed penalty notice was issued to another defendant who was not before the court.
"You have before you Mr Murphey," said Mr Oates. "By way of his plea, he accepts he was the main organiser of a gathering or party on that night.
"An apology letter was posted on behalf of the residents, I think collectively, to the local resident who made the noise complaint".
The party came at a time when the infection rate in Nottinghamshire was rising sharply.
Mitigating, Richard Hull said it was Murphey's 21st birthday.
The numbers that started turning up were at a level where it got completely out of hand, the court heard.
"We have heard there were 44 at the address, including the residents," he added. "It isn't a gathering where there were hundreds of people".
The magistrate told Murphey "we have to consider whether your actions were deliberate or reckless".
Mr Hull's submission had been that Murphey's intention was to hold a party but it was to keep within the guidelines in place at the time.
The magistrate concluded: "We have regarded it was a reckless decision, rather than a deliberate action.
"You need to learn from it," Murphey was told. "At the moment, there are no gatherings, so don't turn up at one or hold one and learn from this".
Murphey was fined £260 and was ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £34.
Editor's Note: See also Nottingham Post, 8 February 2020: Nottingham student appears in court over '50-person house party' in Lenton - Nottinghamshire Live