Pair face trial over allegedly organising rave in breach of Covid restrictions

Tess de la Mare, PA
·4 min read

Two men will face trial this summer for allegedly organising a rave in November, in breach of coronavirus restrictions.

Robert Bagot and Henok Yefru, both 32, are accused of helping to organise the event on Childers Street in Deptford, south London, on November 22 last year.

Both Bagot, of Ilford, and Yefru, of Leyton, accept being present, but deny organising the gathering.

They both denied a single count of holding or being involved in holding a rave-type gathering in England of more than 30 people indoors – an offence with a maximum fine of £10,000.

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Robert Bagot (Gareth Fuller/PA)

City of London Magistrates’ Court heard that one of the issues in the case will be whether lending sound equipment to the rave would meet the definition of being organisers of the event.

Their trial was listed for a day-long hearing at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on July 19.

Bagot and Yefru’s case was one of 63 cases of coronavirus legislation breaches listed at the court on Friday.

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Henok Yefru leaves City Of London Magistrates’ Court (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Other defendants included Jessica Cosson, 29, who was issued a £319 fine for remaining in Borough Market with a friend having been asked to leave by police on the evening of November 18.

Cosson, of Harold Wood, Romford, told the court she had been moving house at the time and had asked for the fixed penalty notice to be sent to her work address.

She missed the deadline to pay and was issued a court summons because the circuit breaker lockdown imposed before Christmas meant her office was closed and she was unable to collect her post.

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Jessica Cosson leaves City Of London Magistrates’ Court (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Elsewhere, Mohammed Haidaire, 25, was ordered to pay £388 in fines and costs after being caught with three other males in a car in Gants Hill, south London, on November 10, several miles from his address in Bellingham without a reasonable excuse.

Antonio Kilola, 35, of Haggerston, was ordered to pay £319 in fines and costs for failing to wear a face mask at Barking Station.

He told the court he had his mask under his chin during the incident on November 17 because he had been speaking on the phone.

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Antonio Kilola leaves City Of London Magistrates’ Court (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Kilola added that he had been surviving on Universal Credit at the time and been unable to pay the FPN within the 28-day time limit.

Two women were handed fines of £13,000 each for hosting house parties with more than 30 guests.

Bianca-Valerica Ciochina, of Bayswater, was fined £13,000 for holding a birthday party at an address in Reede Road, Dagenham, on November 8, and was ordered to pay an extra £275 in costs.

Tama Stephenson-Gordon, 43,of Bromley, was also ordered to pay £13,275 in fines and costs for a party staged at her home on November 5.

Magistrate Andrew Hammond noted Stephenson-Gordon’s party had been “rowdy” and required two van loads of police to clear the guests.

Neither woman attended court for the hearing.

But Leon Chandler, 39, of Barons Court, west London, avoided a £10,000 plus fine on a technicality for hiring DJ equipment to a rave at Warren Farm Sports Centre in Southall on November 7.

Jennifer Gatland, prosecuting, withdrew the charge, noting that for the event to meet the criteria of a rave “amplified music must be played” and the music had been switched off when police officers arrived.

Chandler told officers he had only attended the event to ensure his equipment was not damaged.

Mr Hammond said: “This is new and complicated legislation and we are all finding our way – in future it would be helpful if such matters were not so heavily listed.”

Monique Davis, 45, of Leytonstone, admitted hosting a birthday party at her house on November 15, complete with a marquee in the garden, but tried to claim to police she was staging the event via Zoom.

Davis, who did not attend the hearing but admitted the offence via email, was ordered to pay £1,546 in fines and costs.

She escaped the maximum £10,000 penalty for hosting a gathering of more that 30 people, as police were unable to say how many people were there, although officers saw at least 12 flee the scene when they arrived.

Days devoted entirely to offences under Covid-19 legislation could potentially become a regular event at City of London Magistrates’ Court to clear a backlog of cases.