The owner of the restaurant moored on the River Medway which caught fire was ordered to pay a fine of Â£ 600 after failing to hand over the stun devices and sprays commonly used by police, which were discovered on the barge.
James Bailey, 53, owner of the Embankments Floating Bar and Grill Restaurant in Maidstone which was destroyed in a fire in February last year, held the guns for months after his restaurant manager found them between plants on the barge and handed them over. to him.
At Maidstone Crown Court, prosecutor Kiaran Brand said Bailey was arrested in May 2019 for an unrelated incident for which no further action had been taken. During his arrest, a small bag of cocaine was found in his pocket.
Bailey’s home was then searched and they seized a number of cans of CS and Parva spray, two stun devices, one of which was described as a “Taser-type device” and stun cartridges. The items were found under Mr Bailey’s desk in his home office.
Bailey, of College Avenue, admitted five counts of possession of a prohibited weapon and one count of possession of a Class A drug. He pleaded not guilty to one count of possession of prohibited ammunition, which the prosecution accepted and will remain on file.
Judge Philip St John-Stevens said he accepted that a plastic bag containing the items, which was found on the barge, was handed over to Bailey in February 2019 by the restaurant manager, who found him during the cleaning the premises.
He said there was “no evidence that you were trying to buy or sell these items. The mistake you fell into was not handing them over to the police.”
In defense, Abigail Penny said Bailey wished he could “turn back time.” In a letter written by Bailey, he describes himself as a “staunch supporter of Maidstone” and an award-winning businessman.
The court heard that Bailey was suffering from depression as he failed to deliver the items and was having difficulty with his business.
It was also revealed that the cause of the restaurant fire was a faulty battery on an Ipad charger. The year before, in March 2019, the restaurant had been badly flooded and Mr Bailey had “worked very hard to get the restaurant ready to reopen,” Ms Penny said.
Bailey struck a deal with his insurers last week and now has funding to rebuild the restaurant.
Ms Penny said: “He hopes that once the restaurant is rebuilt his income will return to what it used to be.”
Mr St John-Stevens said he took into account the references submitted on behalf of Bailey, who described him as “a successful businessman who has done a lot to give back to the community”.
Bailey was ordered to pay a fine of Â£ 600 and Â£ 400 in costs within six months. If he does not pay, he will be sentenced to 28 days in prison.
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