By Andy Young

The licensee of a Sydney bottleshop has been fined $2000 for offences relating to the sale of alcohol to a minor.

Mrs Ling Yun Qian, owner of Marsfield Cellars (Liquor Stop), pleaded guilty at Downing Centre Local Court to four offences following an investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW. In a Court hearing  earlier this month, Mrs Qian was fined $1,200 for selling alcohol to the minor, $400 for selling alcohol without a current Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) certification, and $400 for “permit/cause employee to sell alcohol without RSA certification”.

Liquor & Gaming NSW’s director of compliance operations, Sean Goodchild, said the case highlights the need for all licensees and staff involved in the sale of alcohol to ask for age ID of any customers who appear under the age of 25. 

“The law couldn’t be any clearer. Selling alcohol to minors is illegal – no exceptions,” Mr Goodchild said. 

“Any person who sells liquor to a minor can expect to face strict sanctions, including criminal prosecution, and suspension or cancellation of their liquor licence. 

“Liquor & Gaming NSW continues to conduct both overt and covert operations across the State to ensure venues are complying with the law.”

Michael Waters, the executive director of the Liquor Stores Association NSW, agrees that any retailer caught breaking law should be dealt with by regulators.

"As I have said before, if a licensee knowingly breaks the law, they should be dealt with accordingly and the law enforced," Waters told TheShout. "If they continue to do the wrong thing, they do not deserve to be part of an industry where the vast majority of people operate responsibly and well beyond the required standards of legal compliance.

Waters added: "To ensure the reputation of our members and the sector, LSA has developed a broad range of industry self-regulatory initiatives, including ID-25, Don’t Buy It For Them, Compliance Health Check, the ID Compliance Audit, as well as the Mystery Shopper Report undertaken as part of our annual Awards Program – all designed to help members to not only better understand their regulatory obligations, but to lead by example and demonstrate 'best practice retailing'. Liquor store owners, managers and staff can also access online RSA training from our approved RTO partners via our website, with discounted rates available for members.

"What LSA continues to advocate is the need for balance. The ‘sale of alcohol to a minor on licensed premises’ offence carries very serious penalties and implications for licensees, yet no increased penalty for minors who knowingly break the law by attempting to enter and purchase alcohol before the legal age. Evidence consistently tells us that minors are far less likely to purchase alcohol at licensed premises, and more likely to obtain it through parents, friends or older siblings of legal purchasing age, so it’s clear this is where Government should be deploying its regulatory effort.

"LSA and Government Regulators are becoming increasingly concerned with the number of new liquor store owners entering the industry in recent years, with a seemingly poor level of understanding or appreciation for their regulatory requirements and responsibilities under the Liquor Act, or their industry association and the many ways we are able to assist them."

Qian was also found guilty of failing to display a prescribed notice stating it is illegal to sell alcohol to minors, although no conviction was recorded for this offence.  

The Shout Team

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

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