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Lapland boss fails to appear at court
4:44pm Friday 18th February 2011 in News
THE BOSS of a failed winter wonderland family attraction has again failed to attend court because of his continuing fight against cancer.
Victor Mears, 66, who has been advised not to travel more than 30 miles from the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton after suffering kidney failure, will undergo a further operation within weeks, a court heard.
But after it opened on November 29, customers who had paid up to £30 a ticket claimed log cabins were a few green painted sheds, the nativity scene was a billboard in a muddy field and the tunnel of light was a “joke”.
They also reported long queues to meet Father Christmas and fighting elves.
Within days customers were demanding their money back and 5,000 people complained to trading standards. The park shut on December 4.
Council trading standards chiefs have brought nine charges against him and younger brother Henry, who was an officer of the company.
Henry, 59, did attend yesterday’s magistrates’ court hearing, but he was not legally obliged to enter a plea at this stage of proceedings.
Both brothers will now appear before a district judge, at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court, in November, when they are due to enter pleas.
The pair, from Brighton, West Sussex, face charges relate to misleading adverts and the way in which the event was run.
Gary Lucie, prosecuting, told magistrates the council would like the case committed to the crown court.
Magistrates can only impose a maximum £5,000 fine, whereas the crown court can impose a custodial sentence or an unlimited fine.
Wimborne magistrates, who remanded the pair on unconditional bail for committal proceedings, insisted medical evidence be presented should Victor Mears find it impossible to attend the November hearing.