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Restaurant director to stand trial on spiking charge

Vikas Nath, director of the company that owns Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant Benares, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of attempting to spike a woman’s drink at a private members’ club in Mayfair.

Nath was arrested on 15 January after staff at the club called the police, believing that he had attempted to drug a female customer with gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), a potent chemical that is converted into gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), a powerful sedative more commonly known as the ‘date rape’ drug. He was also found in possession of GBL, according to reports.

Appearing in custody at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 17 January, he was initially due to appear at Southwark Crown Count last week (14 February) but instead was in court on Monday, where he pled not guilty to the charge of spiking the unnamed woman “with the intention of stupefying or overpowering her so as to enable any person to engage in a sexual activity involving her”.

Judge Philip Bartle KC told Nath: “As you have pleaded not guilty, there will be a trial, unfortunately not for some considerable time.”

The trial is due to take place in two years time, in February 2026.

Nath was bailed, but on the condition that he lives and sleeps in his home (remaining there between 11pm and 7am), surrenders his passport to the authorities, only travels south of the Thames to attend court, and he is also banned from entering licensed premises serving alcohol.

In December, the UK Home Office announced a series of anti-spiking measures, including training hospitality staff to spot customers attempting to drug others and introducing self-testing kits.

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