Convictions quashed after ‘shenanigans’ at Tommy’s Tavern
TOMMY'S Tavern was shut for the night when staff and a couple of mates lined up 18 shots of liquor each and started slugging them down in various states of undress.
Court documents reveal it was about 9.17pm on a Thursday in 2012, and the party lasted until an irate neighbour filed a noise complaint with police.
In the fall-out that followed, the Lismore pub's apparent licensee Anthony John Sidgreaves CORRECT was convicted of breaching his liquor licence, while the company he directed, AJS Hotel Management, was found guilty of employing an unlicensed security guard.
NSW District Court Judge Andrew Scotting has now overturned both convictions on appeal.
His judgment sheds light on the night in question.
"The general manager of the hotel, another employee of the hotel and two of their friends proceeded to prepare 72 shots of various liquors on the bar and to consume them over a period of time, in various states of undress," Judge Scotting said.
"Their activities lasted over a number of hours until a noise complaint was made by a neighbour of the hotel that resulted in the police being called.
"It is fair to say that the 'shenanigans' involved at the hotel on the night in question constituted a number of breaches of licence conditions, not the least of which was... that the licensee failed to keep the hotel open to the public when liquor was being sold or supplied."
Despite his earlier conviction, handed down in September last year, it turned out Mr Sidgreaves was not actually the licensee.
Court documents reveal the pub's former lessee, a Mr Parrott, handed the pub back to AJS Hotel Management in January 2012 after failing to pay his rent.
Mr Sidgreaves attended the Casino, Liquor and Gaming Control Authority in Sydney later that month and submitted a document to transfer the licence into his own name.
But Judge Scotting said there was no evidence the licence was ever approved, even provisionally.
The original sentencing magistrate also convicted AJS Hotel Management of employing an unlicensed security guard during March and April 2012.
The guard held valid Queensland accreditation but his NSW licence had lapsed.
Judge Scotting put the problem down to the security guard's own oversight and the confusing interstate licensing laws that were in place at the time.
As for Mr Sidgreaves, Judge Scotting said he could not establish who held the hotel licence when the party occurred.
"I cannot be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that it was (Mr Sidgreaves)..." he ruled.
Both convictions and their associated penalties were set aside.
The Northern Star was unable to contact Mr Sidgreaves before this story was published. -ARM NEWSDESK