PUBLICAN TO PRISON FOR SELLING DRUGS TO COPS

In In the Courts by Clyde Mooney

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The former owner of the now closed Railway Hotel Brunswick has been sent to prison after pleading guilty to selling nearly $70k worth of drugs to undercover cops.

Owner of the Railway, 50-year-old Chris Lytras, was arrested and charged back in 2016, following a raid on the Hotel on 15 April. Lytras had previously received a 10-year ban from holding a liquor licence by the VCGLR, for multiple breaches at a different Brunswick hotel in 2005.

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He concealed his involvement with the Railway Hotel by registering another party as licensee. Manager Paul Polito was also arrested following the raid.

Undercover detectives logged eight separate occasions between November 2015 and April 2016 when Lytras supplied ice and cocaine, and was paid $67,800. The agents reported queueing outside the office with other buyers.

MDMA (ecstasy) was later found at a property of Lytras’ during the police investigation.

Lytras pleaded guilty to one charge of trafficking a commercial quantity of ice, and one each of trafficking cocaine and MDMA. It was disclosed in Court that he had a prior conviction for drugs.

Judge Geoffrey Chettle described the nature of the offending as of “grave impact on the community” and noting the prior history gave sentence of 12 years, with a minimum of eight before eligibility for parole. Lytras has already spent over two years in jail awaiting sentence.

The pub itself hit the headlines again in August of 2016 for promoting a dance party event called “Eat Sleep Rave Pussy Repeat”.

The swift and severe public backlash and accusations of promoting rape culture saw the event removed from the Railway’s social media, and replaced with a party on the same night where all proceeds went to the Centre Against Sexual Assault.

The Hotel has since closed for business.

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