Heavy fines for late night liquor sales

open, sign, trading hoursA Darling Harbour bottle shop in Sydney has been hit with fines exceeding $28,000 for breaching NSW laws that ban liquor outlets from selling takeaway alcohol after 10pm.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant said an Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing (OLGR) investigation into Harbourside Cellars found the venue had traded after 10pm multiple times despite the licensee knowing the law.

“This prosecution should serve as a stern warning to other venues – if you ignore the liquor laws you will be caught and penalised,” Mr Grant said.

“These laws are in place to curb alcohol fuelled violence by limiting excessive ‘pre-loading’ by patrons before they enter licenced venues, making nights out safer for everyone.”

On February 6 an OLGR compliance operation caught Harbourside Cellars selling takeaway alcohol after 10pm. Covert officers were able to purchase alcohol at 10:15pm and two customers were observed buying bottles of wine at 10:25pm.

Inspectors ordered the business to produce sales records and CCTV footage and when the venue failed to provide information as requested records were seized.

Following OLGR’s investigation, the licensee, Xia Zhang, was prosecuted for selling alcohol after 10pm on five occasions on January 24, 30 and 31 and  February 4 and 6 2015 and faced a sixth offence for failing to produce records.

Ms Zhang pleaded guilty to the six offences in the Downing Centre local court and, on 14 September, was convicted by Magistrate Christine Haskett and fined $2,500 for each of the illegal sale offences and $5,500 for failing to produce records.

The licensee was also ordered to pay legal costs of $7878. The venue will incur a strike under the Three Strikes disciplinary scheme.

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