Todd Tavern found in breach of NT liquor laws over ‘dangerous and disturbing’ drinking levels
An “obviously drunk” woman who had eight beers in just over an hour at a notorious drinking spot in Alice Springs was not told to leave the bar until police intervened, prompting a review that has uncovered “disturbing” evidence about the tavern’s normal operations.
- Complaint lodged with the Liquor Commission following an inspection of the tavern
- Between 10 to 30 patrons are evicted from the pub each day, commission told
- The commission found alcohol was being consumed “at dangerous levels”
The breach of the Liquor Act is detailed in a complaint upheld against the Todd Tavern, which the Liquor Commission says suggests that the licensee is not taking its responsibilities seriously.
The decision comes as the commission is considering tighter restrictions on the sale of takeaway alcohol in Alice Springs, after imposing new limits in Tennant Creek earlier this year.
The complaint was lodged after a joint inspection of the tavern’s Riverside Bar by police and licence compliance officers in December last year.
The woman was seen buying her first beer at 11:48am and had seven more before inadvertently bumping into one of the officers on her way back from the bathroom.
A security guard escorted the woman from the bar on the officer’s direction.
The commission’s acting deputy chairperson, lawyer Russel Goldflam, said in his written decision that “disturbing” evidence had emerged about the tavern’s normal operations during the complaint hearing.
“One aspect of the management of the Todd Tavern of particular concern to the commission was the candid disclosure by [joint licensee Dan] Hodby that he estimated that between 10 and 30 patrons are evicted from the Todd Tavern each day,” he wrote.
“The licensee submitted that this demonstrates that the licensee takes its responsibilities seriously.”
The drinking pattern of the intoxicated woman at the centre of the complaint was also said to be typical of the tavern’s customers.
The woman had eight beers in just over an hour at the Todd Tavern and was not told to leave the premises until police intervened. (ABC News: Bridget Judd)
“The commission considers that these facts demonstrate that liquor is routinely consumed on the premises at dangerous levels,” Mr Goldflam wrote.
“In the commission’s view, this does not demonstrate that the licensee takes its responsibilities seriously. On the contrary.”
No penalty for the breach has yet been set.
Mr Goldflam wrote that the commission was proposing to take disciplinary action, which could range from new license conditions to suspension of the license, or disqualification of the licensees.
Push to reform alcohol policy across the NT
The complaint comes in the wake of broader moves to reform alcohol policy across the Northern Territory.
It is hoped tighter controls on takeaway alcohol will help tackle the “disturbing” wave of grog-fuelled violence in the outback town.
Since then, the Liquor Act has provided provisions for police to suspend a licensed premises from trade for up to 48 hours.
In August, Piggly’s supermarket in Alice Springs became the first outlet to be barred from selling alcohol under the new powers.
Similar restrictions have also been placed on Bojangles Restaurant and Saloon, also in Alice Springs, the Katherine Hotel and Tennant Creek Hotel.
Earlier this year, the Northern Territory became the first Australian jurisdiction to put a floor price on alcohol, in a bid to curtail its worrying rate of alcohol-related harm.