By James Atkinson

A court has upheld an appeal against the conviction of a publican and his bottleshop attendant for the offence of selling liquor to a minor.

Maroubra Junction Hotel appealed its conviction in Sydney's District Court, which heard that the minor had been regularly visiting the pub's bottleshop on a Friday night.

The bottleshop manager and his assistant had on a number of occasions asked the minor for and had been shown valid identification.

But following a subsequent purchase, the minor walked into the arms of the police and could only show them identification proving an age of 17 years and 5 months.

The pub was convicted by Waverley Local Court and as a result received a strike from the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) because it did not ask the minor for ID before selling him liquor, as required under NSW liquor legislation.

But on appealing the decision to the District Court, the publican and the attendant gave evidence that they had ceased to ask the minor for identification because to continue to do so would cause embarrassment and annoyance.

Under cross-examination the minor conceded he 'may' have ID at home with a different date of birth.

District Court Justice Wells found that the dictionary definition for 'before' was 'sometime prior to' and that if the legislature wanted the interpretation to be 'immediately before' it would have inserted that word into the Liquor Act.

The pub's legal representative, Rod Slater of Slater & Elias Lawyers, told TheShout:

"Her Honour took into account that on the night both the bottleshop manager and his assistant independently told the police that minor had previously been to the hotel bottleshop and produced appropriate ID."

He cautioned that while the District Court decision will be persuasive it is not binding on Local Court Magistrates.

The strike against the Maroubra Junction Hotel will now be removed.

The Shout Team

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

Join the Conversation


  1. While this decision is a win for licensees, was the actual minor involved charged/fined with anything? It appears the Police are tough on licencees who supply alcohol to minors (and that’s fair enough),but ignore secondary supply issues and the minors involved.

  2. Police conceded that after conducting a cost benefit analysis it would not be worth charging the minor despite his guilt.

  3. Cost benefit analysis??? The time it took them to conduct this “cost / benefit analysis” they could have written him an infringement notice.

  4. This is the big issue.I dont know of any other law where 2 people break the law and only one is penalised.
    If the offending minor was charged every time we might see less attempts to purchase.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *