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15th Apr 2023

Dad left fuming after pub refuses to serve disabled son a pint on his 18th birthday

Steve Hopkins

‘I just think it’s blatant discrimination’

A dad has accused a pub of “discrimination” after it refused to serve his disabled son a pint on his 18th birthday.

Jim Green told The Sun how he wanted to go to his local pub, The Dorset Soldier in Wimborne, Dorset, on December 17 so his boy, Hadyn, could fulfil the right of passage of legally downing a pint on the milestone occasion.

But that never happened and Green has since accused the pub’s landlord, Geoffrey Mockford, of “blatant discrimination in its worst form” and vowed to not stop “fighting” for his son’s right to have a pint.

Hadyn is autistic and has global development delay, but has been a regular in the pub along with his dad for years.

Hadyn turned 18 on December 12 – a Monday – so Jim, who had been going the pub for six years – booked a spot for that Saturday.

He told The Sun that a week before the birthday, he told Mockford about his plans, saying he might limit Hadyn to “two pints on his birthday”.

The landlord, Jim said, told him he might not be able to “serve him at all”.

According to licensing solicitors, PopplestonAllen: “Common law states that a licensee can refuse service to anyone he or she chooses, provided the refusal is not on grounds of sex, race, disability, gender, sexual orientation and religion or belief.”

Jim, possibly unaware of licensing rules, argued that the landlord had to serve Hadyn because he was of legal age.

Mockford has been quoted in media reports saying that Hadyn is “not a normal 18-year-old” due to his “lower mental capacity for his years” and that giving him alcohol would be like “giving alcohol to a 9-year-old”. He was further quoted as saying he did not want to risk his alcohol licence.

Hadyn’s party at the bar, because it was close to Christmas and hard to change venues, and the teenager wasn’t served.

Jim told The Sun: “I went to order two pints of lager, one for me and one for Hadyn, and I was told that one of them would have to be a shandy if it was for Hadyn.”

Father and son have not returned to the pub since and it has had a detrimental effect on Hadyn as “we have friends who we don’t see now, and he think it’s his fault”.

Jim said his son is capable of making decisions for himself, and is aware of the effects of alcohol, having spent time in pubs over the years.

“I just think it’s blatant discrimination, we don’t have a problem in other pubs we go into,” Jim said.

“I am going to keep fighting for Hadyn, because if I don’t who else is going to?”

Mockford refuted some of Jim’s claims, telling The Sun: “I am just exercising my right as a licensee, I can refuse to serve anyone I don’t have to give a reason, it’s the law.

“He was drinking on his 18th birthday, and I have not refused him service.

“I just think he should be having shandy rather than lager.”

Mockford added that he had to consider the welfare of all of his customers, “I am just doing my job, he could be a danger to himself and others”.

Read The Sun article here.

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