New England Hotel convicted of liquor licence breaches
The licensee of the New England Hotel in the NSW city of Armidale has been convicted of serving alcohol to an intoxicated patron and failing to provide adequate security measures.
The hotel failed to comply with a licence condition requiring security guards to continually patrol a 50 metre boundary around the venue after 1.30am.
The breaches were uncovered on 25 July, 2015, when covert Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) inspectors observed an intoxicated male patron successfully ordering three vodka drinks, despite swaying near the bar, requiring help when counting his money and being assisted back to his table by friends. He then fell into a friend’s lap and was later seen ‘skolling’ his drink.
It was only after OLGR inspectors revealed themselves to the bar staff member that the intoxicated man was asked to leave the premises, after which he told police he had consumed 12 to 14 beers that night.
From 2am, inspectors observed security guards failing to conduct mobile patrols outside, breaching their licence’s condition which states that from 1.30am two licensed uniformed security personnel must continually patrol an area 50 metres from the boundary of the venue.
As a result, two penalty notices were handed out to the licensee, Ingham-Myers Hotels Pty Ltd. The bar worker was also issued with a notice.
The hotel originally challenged the penalties but pleas of guilty were later lodged for all three offences.
On 25 January, the case was heard in Armidale Magistrates Court, where Magistrate Michael Holmes said a strong message needed to be sent to ensure licensees comply with their obligations. On the charge relating to the sale of alcohol to an intoxicated patron, the licensee was fined $3,000 and ordered to pay an additional $560 in professional costs. For the security breach, the licensee was fined $2,000 and ordered to pay another $560 in professional costs. The bar employee was convicted and fined $500 and also ordered to pay $560 in professional costs.
The hotel will also be considered for a second strike under the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme, as a result of serving an intoxicated patron. Its first strike was delivered after the hotel was caught in September 2013 using glass after midnight.