By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

As details emerge showing neither victim nor perpetrators in the death of Thomas Kelly were in licensed venues, industry calls for the end to scapegoating and an attempt to find the real problem.

The SMH reported yesterday on facts agreed in the compilation of sentencing for Keiran Loveridge, who has pleaded guilty to five assaults including that which caused the death of the teenager in Kings Cross. 

Pre-loaded on Smirnoff Ice Double Black, Loveridge was refused entry to a number of venues in Darling Harbour and Kings Cross before “king hitting” Kelly and assaulting four other men and finally being given an infringement by police for ‘behaving offensively’.

This news follows a comparable incident last weekend where a security guard outside Bar333 on Sydney’s George St was similarly blind punched by an investment banker that had just been refused entry on the grounds of intoxication. 

The Australian Hotels Association NSW has brought voice to the industry outrage at the increasing restrictions and constant finger-pointing at venues, when inappropriate behaviour is often clearly out of their control.

AHA NSW CEO Paul Nicolaou told TheShout that while we are respectful of the victims, the public needs to see beyond the perception of industry’s self-interest and help “find the right answer”.

“After finally seeing the facts of this case, venue operators are left wondering why they have suffered such a severe financial penalty when it appears that Loveridge was not even inside any of their hotels before the attack, but had instead ‘pre-fuelled’ on double-strength vodkas out of a  carton before coming to the area,” states Nicolaou.

“We need to ask ourselves why suddenly people are using alcohol as an excuse to commit random acts of violence – why it now seems acceptable to have a ‘brain-snap’ and belt someone.”

TheShout contacted an expert in the causes of violence, Aletha Solter, Ph.D. – developmental psychologist and director of The Aware Parenting Institute.

Dr Solter states that “the relationship between alcohol and violence is complicated” and “the causes of violence are complex”.

“People who are stressed or who suffer from unhealed childhood trauma often turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to numb their painful feelings,” says Solter.

“These people suffer from repressed grief, terror, or anger, and are often already prone to violence; we can’t pinpoint one single cause, such as drugs or alcohol,” says Solter. 

When adults have tendencies towards destructiveness or violence, we must assume that they were mistreated as children. People do not act in bad, stupid, or hurtful ways unless they have experienced hurtful behavior from others, or unless their needs as children were not met. Studies of criminals have repeatedly revealed severe and early mistreatment of these individuals in an environment that lacked understanding of their feelings and needs.*

Solter suggests that the problem must be approached from a broader understanding, and doubts the efficacy of suggestions to increase price or taxes to reduce availability and consumption. 

“There is no point in trying to discourage or forbid alcohol consumption because it doesn’t work,” she says. “I doubt if any efforts to limit alcohol consumption would have an impact on crime rates.”

*Extract from "Helping Young Children Flourish" – Aletha Solter, Ph.D

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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  1. We recently went through very similar ,near our country hotel 2 years ago(actually in front of a hairdressers, the hotel was shut a young indigenous man was hit by a person, neither had been drinking in the hotel at all ,actually one was barred, he fell hit his head and died approx. 6 days later.. The local paper misreported the event causing staff and owners to be harassed and intimidated, business was lost due to the harassment from a particular group and all of this was due to sensationalist journalism inferring the hotel was involved on the front page of the Northern Star we demanded a retraction; which was printed in a very in-obvious part of the paper. The truth has since come forward in court .
    This “pub bashing” has to stop the blaming of pubs for everything that happens near to them causes immense amounts of duress to staff and management and serious loss of profits which is not in country pubs to start causing sincere hardship..

  2. Don’t blame alcohol alone …its more likely to be drugs and steroids so why aren’t test done on the arrested persons made mandatory

  3. Ah, Clyde, the SMH piece you refer to states that they were admitted to Pontoon and consumed a Vodka and Raspberry…however, I agree with the sentiment of this issue i.e. that simply blaming pubs is not the solution.
    There is still compelling evidence (such as in the UK) that more Police presence and the blanket use of CCTV are the two most effective deterents to street crime. Was the unaddressed case 10 years ago in Coogee and still is unfortunately.

  4. Touche, it is about time we as licensed premises, who have to meet very strict guidelines backed up with severe fines, are given a break.

    The problem is it is much easier to blame us than fix what is a cultural problem in Australia, where it is is ok to get into a punch on, and in fact glamorized on TV and in sport.

    Sadly however I don’t see it changing.

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