In News & Releases by Clyde Mooney

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After a series of stings and successful bid to revoke their licence, Liquor & Gaming has successfully convicted and fined the owners of Soho on Darby of abusing their primary service conditions.

Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&G) inspectors attended Newcastle restaurant Soho on Darby, finding downstairs empty and upstairs holding 80 -100 people drinking and dancing to DJ entertainment in a nightclub-style environment.

L&G applied to the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) to revoke the restaurant’s primary service authorisation, which had allowed drinks to be served without meals on condition the venue continued to operate primarily as a restaurant.

ILGA found the business had resulted in a level of anti-social behaviour and disturbance deemed “unacceptable to the public interest” and revoked the venue’s primary service authorisation in December 2017.

Last Friday (9 February) owners Sean Driver and Samuel Luke pleaded guilty in Newcastle Local Court to two and three offences (respectively) relating to selling and supplying liquor contrary to authority.

Driver was fined $3,000, Luke fined $7,500, and each ordered to pay $5,000 professional costs.

L&G Director of Compliance Operations, Sean Goodchild, says the case shows that the regulator is monitoring risky venues and practises, and will swiftly intervene.

“These business models misrepresent their activities and disregard strict obligations under NSW liquor laws, creating a far greater risk of alcohol-related harm.

“Both the court outcome and the Authority’s decision to revoke the venue’s primary service authorisation send a strong message to industry that misusing a liquor licence will not be tolerated.”

Soho on Darby. Images: Google maps