A ‘selfish’ BBC radio DJ has been fined £1,000 for breaking Covid rules by ‘lending’ her speakers for a warehouse rave days after the November lockdown was announced.
Maressa Innerarity, 33, allowed friends to borrow her equipment for a party at a Poyser Street warehouse in east London in the early hours of November 8, 2020.
Police broke up the party after a resident at a nearby tower block reported noise to Scotland Yard at around midnight.
Innerarity, a former teacher, was issued a fixed penalty notice, but she told officers at the scene she had allowed friends to use her speakers. She said she remained at the ‘squat party’ to make sure her equipment was not damaged.
Police estimates of the number of partygoers ranged from 60 to over 200 people, the court heard.
The rave was held five days before an alleged Downing Street flat party that took place as Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings and communications director Lee Cain left their roles.
Maressa Innerarity, 33, allowed friends to borrow her equipment for a party at a Poyser Street warehouse in east London in the early hours of November 8, 2020. Pictured, the radio DJ covering her face with a scarf outside court
Innerarity, a former teacher, was issued a fixed penalty notice, but she told officers at the scene she had allowed friends to use her speakers
Innerarity, of Wandsworth, south-west London, admitted holding or being involved in holding a rave-type gathering of more than 30 people indoors, contrary to the Coronavirus Health Protection Regulations 2020.
She was fined £1,000, ordered to pay £100 of prosecution costs, and a £100 statutory surcharge. District Judge Tim Godfrey also imposed a deprivation order for the speakers, stands, and the controller.
Innerarity, who performs under the stage name Carmen London, has also presented takeover shows on BBC Radio 1xtra, held a residency at the Notting Hill Carnival, and DJed for Afroswingm music artist Kojo Funds.
The court heard Innerarity has not worked in two years and is on Universal Credit, according to The Mirror.
The judge told Innerarity: ‘This was during the national lockdown in November (2020) of which you were aware, as was everyone.
‘It was in clear breach of lockdown. It is hard to imagine an event more likely to spread Covid. It is not only your own health that you risk, it is the health and wellbeing of others.
The rave was held days before an alleged Downing Street party that took place
‘Those who organised and attended this event were acting in the most selfish way. I must accept that you did not know the full scale of the event.’
Prosecutor Nathan Paine-Davey told the court: ‘On 8 November police were called to 263 Poyser Street as a result of a complaint of noise from a resident of a Poyser Street block of flats, they believed there was some sort of gathering going on.
‘When police arrived they met with local officers, they could hear loud music coming from the address and there were approximately 60 people on the street.
‘Police entered the building and stopped the unlicensed event. Police estimated there were about 180 people in the premises. It was described as a squat, it is a warehouse, the building.
‘Ms Innerarity accepts at the scene that the music equipment was hers, and she was warned she may be prosecuted under the regulations.’
Eric Kabuye, for Innerarity, said: ‘She was approached by two people, Gabriel and Jamal, and she was asked if they could borrow her speakers.
‘She accepted, she packed them into the car, and drove them to the venue.
‘When she arrived at the premises it was empty. As people started to arrive she raised a cause for concern.
‘She was not paid for the the event and she stayed to ensure the equipment was brought back safety.’
He added: ‘There was only limited noise.’
Judge Godfrey interrupted: ‘Not limited enough to stop neighbours calling police.’ He then asked: ‘What did she think the equipment was going to be used for?’.
Mr Kabuye added: ‘She stayed around, she was not paid at all, she did not gain anything from this event.
‘She is a DJ, but she was not the Disk Jockey on the day.’