By Andrew Starke

NSW Gaming and Racing Minister, Kevin Greene, has welcomed the outcome of a court case in which two drunk hotel patrons were fined more than $3000 for assaulting liquor inspectors and remaining in the vicinity of a Hunter licensed venue.

Greene said the incident highlighted the need for pub and club patrons to take greater responsibility for their actions and comply with the State’s responsible service of alcohol laws.

“It was appalling that liquor inspectors were subjected to physical and verbal abuse while carrying out their important duties in enforcing the liquor laws,” he said.

“Two inspectors from the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) were carrying out a covert inspection at the Kandy Bar at Maitland about 11pm on February 13 this year when the incident occurred.”

The court heard that Dale Murdoch, 41, and his 21-year-old son, Joshua, both of Rutherford, confronted the two liquor inspectors while they were interviewing the hotel manager out the front of the premises.

The men had been refused entry into the premises by hotel security.

“Both men then verbally abused hotel staff and inspectors despite being asked repeatedly to leave the vicinity of the hotel,” said Greene.

“Joshua Murdoch lunged towards one inspector, grabbed him and attempted to drag him on to the roadway. His father then grabbed the same inspector and attempted to punch him. A large hole was ripped in the inspector’s shirt during the struggle.

“Another inspector was assaulted while attempting to restrain Dale Murdoch. Joshua Murdoch fled the scene and was arrested in a nearby street. Dale Murdoch was detained by inspectors until police arrived.”

The Maitland Local Court recently convicted Joshua Murdoch over the incident, fined him a total of $1300 and ordered him to pay $237 in court costs for assaulting, hindering and obstructing an inspector, failing to comply with a requirement of an inspector, and remaining in the vicinity of a hotel.

Dale Murdoch was convicted, fined a total of $1300 and ordered to pay court costs of $237 for two counts of common assault, and remaining in the vicinity of a hotel. Both men pleaded guilty.

“These two men should be ashamed of their actions,” said Greene. “A night out has now cost them more than $3000 and wasted taxpayer-funded resources.”

“Liquor inspectors, police and venue staff work hard to ensure our entertainment precincts are safe so people can go out and enjoy a hassle free night.

“Patrons also have an obligation to drink responsibly and behave responsibly. People have had a gutful of idiots who think they can get drunk and threaten, abuse and assault others.

“You must remember it is an offence for a licensee to permit an intoxicated patron on the premises. If you are asked to leave you must do so or the police will be called and you will cop a $550 on-the-spot fine.

“The liquor laws are designed to ensure safety in and around pubs and clubs and compliance with them is essential,” he said.

The Shout Team

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

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