By Clyde Mooney – editor Australian Hotelier

A Byron Bay venue has successfully challenged a charge of late trading for allowing staff drinks after closing. 

On Good Friday this year police charged the Byron Bay Beach Hotel with trading “beyond permitted trading hours” when authorities caught staff having after-hours drinks in the lounge area of the hotel.

The hotel challenged the charge, citing that the lounge was an area where such after-hours drinks were allowed to occur. 

Byron Bay Local Court Magistrate Dakin upheld the defence that there was no offence if liquor was served to staff in a dining area or one authorised for minors, such as the hotel’s lounge. 

Tony Hatzis, of law firm Hatzis Cusack acting for the hotel, told TheShout that Section 144B of the Liquor Act makes it a strike offence to serve liquor after hours – whether sold or provided without charge, as is often the case with ‘staffies’.

However, Section 17(5) affords a defence to a publican, specifying the parameters of the regulation. 

“That subsection only prohibits liquor being sold to employees in a ‘bar area’ of the hotel outside permitted trading hours,” said Hatzis. “However, a minors-authorised area or a dining area is not a ‘bar area’. 

“Getting strikes recorded against hotels for permitting ‘staffies’ drinks after hours had been an easy kill for police, as publicans had readily accepted guilt. This decision suggests that that may no longer be the case.” 

The Shout Team

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

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1 Comment

  1. Great. The pub is closed and staff are having Staffies. As long as they are disturbing anyone and are indoors, what’s the problem. It was ok ok 20 years ago when police would come in at closing time and have drinks in uniform. Wake up and chase some crooks as there are plenty up there. Good on you Byron bay beach hotel

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