By James Atkinson

The NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) has issued a warning about unlicensed alcohol sales following a successful court prosecution resulting in a Sydney man being convicted and ordered to pay more than $36,000 in fines and legal costs.

Konstantin Kola, 54, of West Hoxton, was ordered to pay $30,750 in fines plus $972 in court costs and $4,625 in professional costs after pleading guilty to 12 counts of selling liquor without a licence in the Downing Centre Local Court on Monday.

The successful prosecution by OLGR followed an investigation between June and September 2011 following a complaint from a member of the public that a wholesale business in Wetherill Park was selling liquor without a licence.

On September 6, 2011, OLGR inspectors together with NSW Police raided a business, Oasis Beverages Australia, at Newton Road, Wetherill Park.

Authorities seized 900 bottles of wine, 36 bottles of bourbon, three 20-litre drums of bourbon, and 11 cases of beer, as well as invoices relating to alcohol sales.

Kola was the managing director, company secretary and principal shareholder of Oasis Developments Pty Ltd, trading as Oasis Beverages Australia.

He was charged with 12 counts of selling liquor without a licence to seven different outlets including hotels, restaurants and other businesses in suburbs ranging from Erskine Park, Silverwater, Pyrmont, St Marys, Camden, Unanderra and Gosford.

The offences occurred over a period of four months from February 2, 2011 to May 6, 2011, including sales in total of:

• 19 cases of Cumberland bourbon
• 780 cases and seven 50 litre kegs of Rogue Lager
• 88 cases of Peroni Red Beer
• seventeen 20-litre drums of vodka and 26 cases of vodka
• thirty seven 50-litre kegs of Blonde Beer
• 42 cases of Corona Beer
• 10 cases of Heineken Beer; and
• one case of Earl of Angus Scotch.

The court heard that Mr Kola engaged in "deliberate offences motivated by the desire to make a profit" and made no attempt to take simple steps to ascertain what his responsibilities were under the Liquor Act.

The Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing's Director of Compliance, Paul Newson, welcomed the successful prosecution and significant fines imposed by the Court.

"Let this be a warning that the OLGR is active in investigating unlicensed sales and ready to prosecute anyone found to be selling alcohol without a licence," he said.

"Compliance with the liquor laws is essential and this prosecution serves as a warning and a strong deterrent to those who think they can flout the system."

Newson said the sale and supply of liquor carries with it a number of important legal obligations.

"These obligations are in place to reduce the harm associated with alcohol abuse including violence and anti-social behaviour, and to promote a culture of responsible service and consumption of alcohol. Anyone selling liquor without a licence can face a maximum penalty of up to $11,000 per offence and 12 months imprisonment or both."

The Shout Team

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

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