A photo of the layback incident.
Police have recommended a Dunedin bar manager who poured
alcohol directly into a customer's mouth as the man was lying
backwards on the bar can have his manager's certificate
renewed, but be suspended from managing for 30 days.
It was only a matter of timing that the incident was being
considered as Michael Campbell applied to renew his manager's
certificate, Dunedin liquor licensing Sergeant Ian Paulin
The application was opposed by police and local licensing
inspector Tony Mole after a picture of the layback incident
was posted on Facebook.
''Should this have come to light at a different time in the
life of Mr Campbell's certificate, police would have made an
application to the alcohol and regulatory authority for the
suspension of his certificate. Police would have agreed to an
on-the-papers hearing seeking a 30-day suspension,'' Sgt
Such a penalty was the norm for a first offender with a
single offence, such as Mr Campbell.
The application, the first opposed manager's certificate to
be heard by Dunedin's District Licensing Committee (DLC), was
The committee, comprising Colin Weatherall, Cr Andrew Noone
and Wayne Idour, heard that laybacks were not an uncommon
practice in Dunedin. DLC secretary Kevin Mechen said he was
aware they used to be common in Dunedin bars, but Phil Ellis,
Mr Campbell's employer and owner of
Craft bar, where the incident happened, said during some
market research he had had done just before the incident at
Craft, researchers found they could have got a layback at
five Dunedin bars.
Laybacks were not illegal, but doing them or allowing
them to happen in a bar did not meet host responsibility
standards required by alcohol legislation, Mr Mechen said.
Sgt Paulin told the committee the technique of a layback -
the act of a person lying down and another person pouring
spirits directly into their mouth - was historically
considered in cases related to liquor legislation to
encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol.
Therefore, by participating in the layback Mr Campbell had
promoted the inappropriate consumption of alcohol, thereby
breaching a legislative requirement for managers to provide
and sell alcohol in a manner contributing to the reduction of
Mr Mole said Mr Campbell had ''screwed up'' and been caught
at it, but the experience could ultimately make him a better
manager. He supported a 30-day suspension.
Mr Campbell, who was just out of a probationary first year of
his certificate, said he assessed the man on whom he
performed the layback, a groom on a stag night, as not too
intoxicated and he had only administered about 30ml of
He told the committee he had never given a layback before
this incident and would certainly never do it again, or allow
any staff to do it.
''I honestly feel that, this aside, I'm a responsible duty
Sgt Paulin confirmed Mr Campbell was otherwise of good
character and had not previously come to police attention.
Mr Ellis said Mr Campbell was suspended from work for two
days and from manager's duties since Mr Ellis became aware of
He agreed to hold off reinstating Mr Campbell on bar manager
duties until the committee made its decision, which was
expected to be within days.