Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A problem of proof

Here’s a rather unfortunate tale from my neck of the woods where Joe Coyle, a 22-year-old man with cerebral palsy, was refused service in the Governor’s House pub in Cheadle Hulme despite reportedly providing nine separate forms of ID. Reading between the lines it does seem like one of those “six of one and half a dozen of the other stories” – he clearly looks about 15, so it was entirely reasonable for the pub to ask for ID, but they were then overzealous about it resulting in him becoming abusive towards them. If the pub staff really did suggest that they wouldn’t let him in because he might become “mentally unstable” then that is totally out of order and will do their reputation a lot of harm.

However, the real villain of the peace is surely the climate of hysteria about underage drinking that makes pubs feel compelled to operate “Challenge 25” policies in the first place and fearful of the consequences if they don’t follow them to the letter.

There’s another pub just across the road – the Church – so I wonder if he and his friends tried there and got a better reception. Plus five other pubs within half a mile. As an aside, Cheadle Hulme is one of those rare places that has seen an increase in the number of actual pubs (not just bars) in the past twenty years.

You also have to wonder what kind of “friends” would let him stay outside while they finished their drinks.


  1. I think I was in the same computer science class as this guy at 6th form...

    Can't say I've ever received good service in the Governor's, this is just another nail in its coffin as far as I'm concerned. Would much rather patronise the Cheadle Hulme, Church and John Millington.

  2. I suppose it depends on local knowledge/perception as to what the real truth of the matter is - the papers often don't get the true story in disputes like this.

    On the face of it though, it looks like a clear case of discrimination to me. If he had brought nine separate forms of ID and they turned their noses up at all of them I'd be wondering why. It's not very likely that they're all fake now, is it?

    You could never prove anything but perhaps they just didn't like him and are using that as an excuse.

    But on the face of it, sounds like discrimination to me.

  3. Cerebral palsy, can be mistaken for intoxication. Maybe that is what happened here.

  4. He could also be intoxicated and have cerebral palsy, and also not be abusive at the same time. Or perhaps he was being abusive but was sober.

  5. "Cerebral palsy, can be mistaken for intoxication. Maybe that is what happened here. "

    It could be, but there's no suggestion that it was in this case. As with all such reports, there's almost certainly more to it than meets the eye.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval. See here for details of my comment policy.