Drinking death: City pubs put on notice

Toowoomba Liquor Action Group Chairman Brad Fitzgibbons said recent sanctions placed on a dalby pub has raised eyebrows among local licensees.
Toowoomba Liquor Action Group Chairman Brad Fitzgibbons said recent sanctions placed on a dalby pub has raised eyebrows among local licensees. Bev Lacey

HEAVY sanctions imposed on a Darling Downs pub following the intoxication death of a patron will put extra pressure on Toowoomba pubs and clubs, according to the Toowoomba Liquor Industry Action Group.

The former licensee of Meandarra's Royal Hotel pleaded guilty to five liquor act offences earlier this week after the 2013 death of David Reilly, who was continually served liquor despite showing signs of excessive intoxication. He died of alcohol poisoning.

Toowoomba Liquor Industry Action Group chairman Brad Fitzgibbons said the incident has raised eyebrows among local licensees.

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"The majority of venues around Toowoomba have numerous procedures and protocols in place.

"However, an incident like this goes to show how important it is to be aware of licensing laws.

"Pleading ignorance is no longer good enough.

"This incident has also shown that the onus is on all staff to take responsibility not just the licensee."

A fine of $66,000 was handed down by Dalby Magistrate Kay Ryan who found Evanross Pty Ltd guilty to five liquor act offences, including supplying an unduly intoxicated person and failing to provide a safe environment.

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Evanross Pty Ltd was fined $60,000 while bartender Selinaa Howard and bar manager Eric Rossmuller were fined $1000 and $5000 respectively.

Mr Fitzgibbons said the severe fines were a warning to other licensees.

"The punishments imposed goes to show how seriously liquor act breaches are treated," he said.

"The Toowoomba Liquor Action Group hope to work with local licensees so people never have to be convicted."

A report showed the man died at his home and was found by friends the next morning with an alcohol reading of .398.



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