THE LICENSEE of Hamilton’s Sydney Junction Hotel – currently locked in a battle with The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority over the pub’s trading hours – has pleaded guilty to breaching licensing conditions after a covert operation targeting drink stockpiling.
Campbell Rogers, 34, who is represented by solicitor Cameron Duncan, was due to face a hearing in Newcastle Local Court on Tuesday, but instead pleaded guilty to a charge of licensee fail to comply with conditions of license.
The breach relates to stockpiling drinks – a practice where patrons accumulate four or more drinks in front of them, which authorities say can lead to excessive or rapid intoxication – at the popular Beaumont Street hotel on a Saturday night last year.
According to court documents, two covert Alcohol Licensing Enforcement Command (ALEC) operatives arrived at the pub at 10pm on September 9, bought a beer each and walked around.
At 11pm, one of the operatives went to the main bar and purchased four Tooheys New beers, walked to a shelf on the main dance floor and put them down.
About 20 minutes later the other undercover operative bought two pre-mixed passion fruit vodka drinks and returned to the same shelf.
“They maintained a stockpile of six drinks unconsumed and two semi-consumed alcoholic drinks for a total of eight drinks,” according to a penalty notice tendered in court.
“They maintained that stockpile from 11.20pm until 12.30am.”
Prosecutors provided a map of the venue, claiming the operatives were able to stockpile their drinks in an area of the pub blocked from view from the main bar.
They also produced an internal SJ’s memorandum, which made clear that stockpiling drinks should be monitored and stamped out.
Rogers had no other licensing breaches on his record.
He was listed as licensee of the Sydney Junction Hotel between June and September, 2017, and then again starting from February this year.
He was previously licensee at The Gunyah Hotel at Belmont and The Fairfield Hotel, according to court documents.
Ultimately, Magistrate David Price convicted Rogers of the licensing breach and fined him $1200.
Currently, the pub can trade until 3am, pending an appeal hearing into the decision this month.
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