'Layback' bar manager approved

A Dunedin bar manager who poured alcohol into a customer's mouth has been granted his manager's certificate, but for half the usual term.

In a written decision yesterday, Dunedin District Licensing Committee secretary Kevin Mechen commended Michael Campbell for accepting responsibility for the ''layback'' incident. The committee renewed his manager's certificate for 18 months, rather than the usual three years.

''He accepted he was wrong and that it should not have happened. The committee believes he is genuinely remorseful but he still has a lot to offer the hospitality industry in Dunedin.''

Mr Campbell has been suspended as duty manager at Craft Bar since February 12, after the incident came to light because of photographs on the internet.

He was pictured pouring a liqueur from a bottle into the mouth of a patron draped backwards on the bar.

The suspension was imposed by the bar's owner, pending the outcome of the hearing.

The decision said: ''This shortened [licence] period is to allow the reporting agencies to formally reassess his performance.''

''During the hearing the committee was concerned to hear other premises in the city are still participating in laybacks if asked by patrons.

''This, along with other practices like the 21 shots, is unacceptable and while this is not in the control of the applicant we would like to think this is a warning to others that there are consequences for breaches ...''

Dunedin alcohol harm prevention officer Sergeant Ian Paulin and liquor licensing inspector Tony Mole opposed the renewal.

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