Licences suspended at 2 inner-city bars

Two inner-city Dunedin bars have had their licences suspended after landing in hot water with the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (Arla).

Alley Cantina, on George St, and Branson's Hotel, on St Andrew St, were both ordered to close over the weekend after Arla recently ruled both were guilty of serving alcohol to intoxicated patrons.

However, Judge Kevin Kelly ruled against police on many points, including a claim that Branson's allowed disorderly conduct to occur on two separate nights and failed to step in after patrons became unruly.

The case related to two nights where police visited the bar last year, the night of the All Blacks v Wales test match and later in the year during a private 21st birthday party.

Alcohol harm prevention officer Sergeant Ian Paulin said on both nights bar staff did not properly intervene to stop patrons acting in a disorderly manner, and swearing and acting aggressively towards police.

On the night of the rugby, a patron tried to trip an officer and on the night of the 21st he feared things were about to turn ''ugly'' as he and another officer took an underage patron away, Sgt Paulin said.

Judge Kelly was satisfied intoxicated patrons were served alcohol on both nights, but said police failed to prove other allegations.

There was no evidence of disorderly conduct at the bar until police arrived.

''While the police were subject to insulting and abusive language and one officer was foot-tripped while in the premises, the police were not called to the premises to address any violence or quarrelsome behaviour.''

Police also failed to prove a 17-year-old arrested at the 21st party was served alcohol or the bar manager knew he was on the premises.

The case against Alley Cantina related to a police visit to the premises shortly after midnight on May 29 last year.

Sgt Paulin said he had been on foot patrol with a constable when they had seen people come out of an alley near the premises carrying bottles of beer.

When advised they were in a liquor ban area, the people poured out their alcohol and safely disposed of the bottles.

When he had entered the premises, he had noticed an upset, intoxicated patron leaning against a wall, and having trouble operating a cellphone.

Judge Kelly was satisfied the man leaning against the wall was intoxicated and had been served alcohol.

However, he said the police failed to prove other people seen near the bar, including the two people coming down the alley, had been served at the premises.

Both bars had their licences suspended from 8am on Saturday. Branson's suspension was to last 48 hours and Alley Cantina's 72.

The responsible duty managers for both bars also had their manager's certificates suspended for 28 days.


The Police of late seam to be quite enthusiastic in the policing of bars and their surrounding Street areas,in fact you could say a bit over enthusiastic...