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Mirror row club closed for week

THE nightclub that created an international controversy after installing a two-way mirror allowing male revellers to peer at women in the female toilets has been shut for a week.

The Shimmy Club in Glasgow was forced to comply with the sanction from 10pm last night following complaints from police and city council officials.

It will allow for the mirror to be permanently disabled and all staff at owners the G1 Group to undergo full training in equal opportunities.

Despite expectations the venue would face tougher sanctions and a longer closure, the club is already planning to take the decision to the sheriff court in a bid to have it overturned.

Lawyers for the club, owned by leisure entrepreneur Stefan King, had asked for the closure order to be delayed for a fortnight to allow for an appeal.

Archie MacIver claimed that because the hearing lasted until late last night and the sheriff court would be closed, his client faced "a denial of justice". He also asked for the suspension to only apply to the downstairs area of the Shimmy Club, in Royal Exchange Square, as the upper-floor bar and restaurant had not been involved in the complaint.

However, both requests were refused by the city's licensing board.

The mirror, which was available to revellers who allegedly could pay £800 for private party rooms, has made headlines as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

The two-way "spy" mirror, similar to those used in some police interview rooms, was thought to have been installed between the toilets and the private function room.

It attracted criticism from the leader of the city council, Gordon Matheson, and Shadow Scottish Secretary Margaret Curran.

In his submission to the board, Mr McIver said the premises had recently undergone a £300,000 refit and that "London designers had been asked to create a talking point within the premises. And boy, did they achieve that".

He said the Shimmy Club reopened on May 3. There were two complaints later that month and on May 17 the premises was visited by licensing standards officers. He said one officer, while not personally happy with the mirror, did not make any comment in relation to whether it contravened the legislation in the Licensing Act.

A police chief inspector visited the premises, spoke to Mr King, and G1 agreed to remove the mirror, and it was later covered. He said: "There is no history of non-compliance on behalf of this licensee. The mirror has been dealt with. It is not likely to recur due to the adverse publicity and also from the track record of co-operation over the past 23 years. They are not in any way contemplating doing this again. Lessons have been learned and, without a shadow of doubt, there will be no repetitions of this incident.

"The company regrets going down this road. They have undermined a lot of the good work they have done and they do not want to be standing here before the board again. The company apologises unreservedly.

"But in law, as the mirror has been dealt with, the issue of deterrence does not arise. So let's draw a line under this affair, and move on to more positive matters."

Chairman of the board Malcolm Cunning said there was concern the company did not think it would objectify women, putting them at risk. He added: "It seems that the attitude is that 'it's okay, it's still enough of a laugh to get away with it and we regret getting caught – we don't regret the original decision'."

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