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Representatives of Rita Ora offered a London restaurant £5,000 to host a lockdown-breaking party for the singer’s 30th birthday, according to police.
At a Kensington and Chelsea council licensing subcommittee hearing on Thursday, police called for the licence of Casa Cruz in Notting Hill, where the party was held, to be revoked.
The pop star has apologised for holding the celebration, which was attended by 17 people including the models Cara and Poppy Delevingne, on 28 November last year.
Ora apologised a second time when it emerged that she should have been self-isolating when she celebrated her birthday, after a trip to Egypt.
When news of the party was revealed, Ora admitted a “serious and inexcusable error of judgment” based on a “spur-of-the-moment decision”.
The committee heard that Ora’s party had been intended to take place at the home of one of her friends, but those plans were quickly rearranged when paparazzi turned up outside before the event began.
Charles Holland, a lawyer representing the police, said: “The incident on the night was one of the most egregious, and certainly the most notorious, breaches of the regulations committed on licensed premises.” Ora “selfishly wished to flout the lockdown”, he said.
PC Ian Davis, of the Metropolitan police, said a revocation of the licence would send a “clear message [that] no one is above the law and all will be held accountable”.
Gary Grant, representing the restaurant, told the committee that plans to host the party at Casa Cruz were made at the last minute.
He said the restaurant had been hired to cater for a “dining-at-home” experience at a friend of Ora’s, but then “the paparazzi turned up outside the home where the party was going to take place”.
There was a “panicked phone call in the afternoon” to the restaurant, which was asked “in desperation” if the party could be held there.
The restaurant’s general manager at the time of the party, Scott Bhattarai, gave a statement to police on 1 December and said he had allowed the premises to be used.
He said Ora’s representatives offered £5,000 and that most staff were on furlough, so he went to Casa Cruz to “facilitate the event”. In his witness statement, he apologised for being “greedy”.
Bhattarai told officers that “security for the entourage” wanted no footage of them arriving, so he turned the CCTV off between 6pm and 6.30pm.
The £5,000 fee for the use of the restaurant was never paid by Ora or any of her associates, Grant said at the hearing, adding that the restaurant’s director had no knowledge of the event.
The committee will announce its decision on Casa Cruz’s licensing review at a later date.
Source: The Guardian
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