LIFE BAN AND MAX. FINE FOR GM

In News & Releases by Clyde Mooney

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The former general manager of Shelly Beach Golf Club has received a life ban from the industry and the maximum fine, after being found guilty of tampering with evidence in a liquor-related trial.

A release by the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) reports that a patron of the Central Coast Club, Bernie Nash, faced prosecution for charges of drink-driving and resisting arrest.

GM of the Club, Craig Ellis, was asked by police for CCTV evidence of Nash’s alcohol consumption. Ellis reportedly instructed a member of staff to provide only part of the complete footage, showing Nash consume just three schooners of beer, when in fact he had consumed seven in two hours.

Ellis also produced a membership ledger for that day with a number of alcohol purchases omitted from the record.

The evidence was used in Nash’s case, and he was subsequently acquitted. He then successfully sued NSW Police for wrongful arrest, assault and malicious prosecution, winning damages of $125,000 plus legal costs.

Following the lawsuit, police were notified of the tampering of the evidence, leading to charges against Ellis, and in 2017 he was found guilty and jailed, sentenced to 22-months with non-parole period of 10 months, for the offence of ‘tampering with evidence with the intent to mislead a judicial tribunal’.

The investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW led to a complaint to ILGA, which in a ruling just issued, found Ellis was not a fit and proper person to act in such a position at a Club.

Ellis was given the maximum penalty: banned from the club industry for life, and fined $11,000. The Club was also ordered to pay $32,000 to cover L&G’s costs.

ILGA also added a condition to the Club’s licence requiring that the CCTV system cover all publicly accessible areas of the venue, and that footage be kept for at least 28 days.

“There is an expectation that any holder of a liquor or gaming licence will assist police and Liquor and Gaming NSW inspectors with enquiries,” said Director of Compliance Operations, Sean Goodchild.

“The wilful obstruction of police by tampering with CCTV is a very serious matter, and this is reflected in the custodial sentence imposed on Mr Ellis.”

This was the second life ban to be imposed since the NSW Government’s reforms to the Registered Clubs Act were passed by Parliament in March.

It is understood Nash will face further questions, but the Authority is unable to comment on the matter.