Cinema boss who appealed against £15k Covid fine warned it may be 'dramatically increased'

The cinema was initially ordered to shut by Swansea Council and Welsh Government officials. Credit: ITV Wales

The owner of an independent cinema in Swansea has launched an appeal against a fine, which was imposed for breaking Covid rules.Anna Redfern is appealing against the £15,000 fine but not the conviction itself. She has been told it is possible the fine could be increased much further.

The appeal will be heard on Friday, May 13.

Judge Paul Thomas QC explained how the court will assess the fine on Miss Redfern and the cinema's current financial position. More than £50,000 was raised on a crowdfunding page, which was set up to fight against what was described as "an injustice against her". Judge Thomas warned: "Miss Redfern might have the fine reduced or dramatically increased."Redfern's barrister, Graham Goodwill, said: "She is aware of the risks."The judge added that there must be a "full and frank disclosure of Redfern and the company's estates, including fundraising" seven days before the appeal.

The cinema was initially ordered to shut by Swansea Council and Welsh Government officials on November 19 last year for alleged Covid rule breaches after the venue announced it would not enforce the Covid Pass scheme.

Anna Redfern vowed previously to "take a stand" against the new measures facing cinemas, theatres, and concert halls describing them as "discriminatory and unlawful".On November 30 a court judge rejected her appeal to dismiss her case and ordered the venue to follow Covid-19 regulations and respect the council's closing order. Miss Redfern was also told to pay the council's legal costs of £5,265.

The day after the court case, Cinema & Co appeared to re-open and host a Christmas film screening to those who booked online.Miss Redfern subsequently pleaded guilty to three offences under the Coronavirus Act 2020 and was fined £5,000 for each breach. She also admitted contempt of court by opening the venue in the face of a court order and was sentenced to a 28 days in suspended for nine months.The appeal will be heard on Friday, May 13.