By James Atkinson

The manager of a bar in Sydney's Kings Cross has been banned from holding a liquor licence for five years by NSW authorities (see full decision here).

The Casino Liquor and Gaming Control Authority last week imposed the ban on Dominic Kaikaty, manager of the Eye Bar on Darlinghurst Road.

This latest disciplinary action comes after Kaikaty was convicted in November last year by the Downing Centre Local Court of six counts of supplying liquor to a minor.

He had also had previous convictions against him including failure to comply with liquor licence conditions on giving police CCTV access, and the sale of liquor for consumption on the premises only.

The court disqualified Kaikaty from holding a licence for a period of 12 months – the maximum it can impose under its powers, which are essentially punitive.

But the Casino Liquor and Gaming Control Authority – which has the power to impose longer periods of disqualification for the broader purpose of protecting the community – last week imposed a separate five-year ban in response to a complaint from Kings Cross Police.

The police alleged Kaikaty was not a fit and proper person to be the holder of a licence, and that the licence had not been exercised in the public interest.

In July last year the Authority issued a Short Term Closure Order against the venue following incidents of drug supply detected by police officers on the premises, including in the kitchen.

As a result of one of these incidents, Kaikaty's brother, who was then manager and lease holder of the premises, was convicted for the supply of a small quantity of prohibited drugs.

In a conference held last October, the authority heard that Kaikaty himself had two larceny convictions that were "particularly pertinent" to the complaint against him because they were "committed in a hospitality industry context".

The police also identified various incidents involving intoxicated people on the premises, and a series of violent incidents the authority said were "particularly troubling".

"Maybe this is not for me," says licensee

Authority Chairperson Chris Sidoti said Kaikaty "had not demonstrated anything like the degree of knowledge of the law or competence that the Authority would expect of a reasonably competent liquor licensee".

"The premises appears to have been poorly managed and disorderly in several respects, generating a disproportionate amount of police attention for what was ostensibly a small licensed restaurant," he said.

Kaikaty conceded during the conference that he was out of his depth and that "maybe this was not for me".

In support of his good character he provided a letter from World Vision Australia confirming he had previously sponsored a child in a developing country, and some medical information about his grandparents.

"This material is not particularly helpful in establishing [his] good reputation," Sidoti said, handing down the ban.

"The Authority is more concerned with [his] demonstrated lack of knowledge and competence pertaining to the responsibilities of a liquor licensee than [his] character in the broader sense."

The Shout Team

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

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