Gala Bingo Club Demolition Goes to Court

Franco Lumba, the owner of Gala Bingo Hall in the UK, is facing charges of altering the grade II-listed building. Magistrates declined jurisdiction so the case is headed for Crown Court.

Lumba missed the April 10th preliminary hearing at Richmond Magistrates' Court. Neveille Gray, his defense counsel, told the court that an eye operation was the reason for Lumba's absence.

Kingston Council legal representative, Saima Khan, proceeded to describe the charges filed pending against Lumba and FL Trading Limited, a company he is currently director and shareholder of.

As for the charges, Lumba is being accused of demolishing a portion of the listed building, formerly a Regal Cinema, within the timeframe of August-October 2010.

If found guilty, Magistrates felt that their ability to hand down a suitable sentence was limited by restrictions so they determined the case would be better handled in Crown Court. Their jurisdiction may impose a maximum prison sentence of six months, a £20,000 fine, or both in these types of cases. Crown Courts are given the power to sentence two years in jail in addition to an unlimited fine in listed building cases.

Pleas will be given when the case is sent to Crown Court on May 8th.

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