Sunday, February 17, 2013

NSW Police withdraw liquor licensing breach

NSW Police withdraw Liquor Licensing breach

Sylvester and Browne Lawyers are proud to report that a liquor licensing breach issued against a Licensee of one of our Hotel clients based in the Darlinghurst area was withdrawn by NSW Police prior to a hearing at the Downing Centre Local Court last Wednesday the 13th of February 2013.

The case alleged by Liquor Licensing Police attached to the Surry Hills Command was that the Licensee had failed to provide CCTV footage to Police upon request pursuant to a condition on his licence. However, based on the evidence, it should have been clear to the investigating Police that there was in fact a person on the premises at the time who was able to burn the subject footage to DVD and that a thorough investigation by the Police, rather than assumptions, would certainly have uncovered that fact.

Interestingly, the case highlighted an issue regarding the urgency of the Police request for CCTV footage. The evidence outlined that the subject incident being investigated allegedly occurred 7 days prior to the request. Why then did it take so long for investigating Police to attend the hotel and request the footage? Further, the relevant Notice to produce the CCTV footage that was issued to the Licensee had been backdated to the week before the Police attended the hotel. Whether this was a typographical error or otherwise remains to be seen.  Suffice it to say, licensees should ensure that they carefully check any documentation produced or relied upon by the Police prior to deciding upon a specific course of action.

Thankfully, sanity prevailed in this particular case and the Police Prosecutor withdrew the breach prior to the hearing. Sylvester and Browne Lawyers highly recommend that Licensees seek specialised legal advice prior to making  admissions to Police or paying fines issued for liquor licensing breaches. It is important to remember that when a breach or fine is paid by a licensee and/or manager, that information may be used by licensing Police and other regulatory agencies in unrelated proceedings in the future to indicate a pattern of offending by a particular licensee.  Food for thought.

David Sylvester
Principal Lawyer