Liquor licence forfeited; restaurant ban

A Cromwell restaurant owner last year convicted of indecently assaulting two former employees and offering to supply cannabis to a person under the age of 18 at one of his restaurants will lose his liquor licence and his ability to enter his restaurants during business hours.

Neville James Fox (55) was convicted by a jury in the Dunedin District Court last August on the indecent assault charges and later admitted the cannabis charge.

In the Queenstown District Court yesterday, Liquor Licensing Authority Judge John Hole and member Judith Moorhead ordered the cancellation of his liquor licence and restricted his access to Thai Crom and Thai Alexandra during work hours, before adjourning proceedings for two months while Fox and his wife Jinda negotiated with police.

Both parties had reached an agreement in principle for Mrs Fox to become the full shareholder of both Thai Crom and Thai Alexandra restaurants and for her husband to be restricted from entering the premises during the liquor licensing hours of 11am to midnight.

Under the proposal, Fox would be able to deliver takeaway orders to customers.

Sergeant Keith Newell, of Queenstown, submitted a cancellation of Fox's licence and general manager's certificate was necessary.

The indecent assaults involved a girl under the age of 16 in 2008 and a relative at the Cromwell restaurant in 2009.

Fox had also offered cannabis to a 15-year-old female employee and her 18-year-old boyfriend on the premises between January and September 2009.

He admitted those charges and was convicted.

However, yesterday he denied the incident took place at the restaurant and said it was at his home.

He offered the cannabis only to the 18-year-old at his home because he "thought it would be rude not to offer", he told the authority.

However, Judge Hole was not convinced.

He ordered Fox to resign his directorship, transfer all shares in both restaurants to his wife, surrender his liquor licence and not be present at the restaurant during business hours, including during the sale of liquor, except for takeaway delivery purposes.

 

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