Awarah Shikha, 28, who runs Sabina Mini Market, said sorry for his “mistake” at a hearing to decide whether his licence should be revoked yesterday (Monday 9 November).
The hearing was told that trading standards officers found the counterfeit Verbano and Mirella fizz on sale at the shop, also known as Tivoli Food and Wine.
They also found a fake bottle of Blossom Hill white zinfandel wine on the shelves at the shop, in Tivoli Crescent, Brighton, in March.
The clue was perhaps that the fake stuff tasted better?
...dozens of neighbours wrote to Brighton and Hove City Council before the “virtual” licensing panel hearing – to speak up for Mr Shikha.
The panel said that the “letters of support” were more akin to character references than evidence about whether licensing laws were being broken.
Ah, so, he's a person of impeccable character?
Mr Shikha told the panel that he had been honest with trading standards officers when they found the illicit alcohol...
Errr, yes, well, that's not really evidence, is it? They caught you red-handed!
...and apologised for this and for breaching other licence conditions.
The panel was told that the breaches included the store having no “designated premises supervisor” (DPS), no record of staff training and a sub-standard security camera system.
Trading standards officer Catriona Macbeth told the five-hour panel hearing that the business had been caught selling illicit alcoholic drinks in the past.
Well, it seems to be fairly easy to catch them in Brighton!
Mr Shikha, an Iraqi, told the panel that he came to Britain to improve his life and was working hard. He said that, while his spoken English was good, his understanding of written legal and technical terms meant that he made mistakes.
So they didn't explain to him the last time he was caught in plain English?
The panel of three councillors retired to make a decision which will be made public within five working days.
What are they planning on doing for the other four days and 6 hours?