The credibility of Bahama Hut licensee Matt Gordon has been challenged after he failed to mention his company had received a one-day licence suspension and his manager's certificate was suspended for 30 days.
Tauranga City Council's chief licensing inspector, Graeme Cushing, highlighted Gordon's memory lapse during closing submissions to a liquor licensing hearing yesterday.
Lyger Investments, of which Gordon was the director, has applied to renew the licence for Bahama Hut in Hamilton St. It has been opposed by police and the council.
Cushing questioned the suitability of Gordon as a licensee. He referred to evidence given by Gordon on the first day of the hearing in which Gordon said he was proud to say that in all his time running businesses, he had never been penalised by any of the agencies or the courts, despite the fact that nightclub and adult entertainment premises were high risk.
"It was ascertained that his company had received a one-day suspension of their licence and that his managers certificate had been suspended for a 30-day period for incidents relating to intoxication on his licensed premises," Cushing said.
"He had forgotten about these serious matters. It is my submission that Mr Gordon's previous inconsistent statement affects his credibility as a licensee."
Gordon was recalled to the witness stand on the second day of the hearing on Monday after the discovery of the inconsistency.
He told the licensing committee he now recalled the one-day licence suspension during 2010-11.
"It was an honest mistake, I was not trying to mislead anyone ... I forgot it happened. It does not sit at the back of my memory as a severe incident that I would remember."
Gordon said it was an incident where former alcohol harm reduction police officer Sergeant Nigel McGlone had offered him a one-day suspension. He and his club manager felt obliged to sign the half a dozen police slips even if they did not agree with the intoxication assessments of club patrons.
Gordon said he also ''offered himself up'' for the suspension of the manager's licence.
Cushing said in his closing submission yesterday that the trading style of the applicant did not fit the confined area of Hamilton St.
He said the two witnesses who gave evidence for Lyger Investments could not tell the committee with any conviction about the object of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.
Cushing said there was evidence from CCTV footage and police witnesses that the sale and consumption of liquor had not been carried out safely and responsibly, or that the harm from the excessive consumption of alcohol had been minimised.
He said evidence had established that "the applicant does not have appropriate systems, staff and training to comply with the law. This appears to be a systematic failure, with old-school thinking".
Views of an alleged stabbing in the former caged smoking area, and of a man being punched outside the Bahama Hut, were shown to the committee using security camera footage. The separate incidents were currently the subject of court proceedings.
Counsel for Lyger Investments Robert Davies challenged the police's characterisation of the Bahama Hut as Tauranga's No 1 problem licensed premises.
''It makes a good headline,'' he said.
Davies said the 13 CCTV logs that involved the Bahama Hut from the total number of logs did not constitute it being the No 1 problem premises. His own assessment was that there were four or five logs.
A year's worth of key incidents recorded in the CBD on Saturday nights were logged for the committee.
As for the accusation that Gordon shirked his responsibilities as licensee, Davies said this view was not tenable. ''He was well aware that the buck stops with him.''
Davies said that at no point in Gordon's evidence did he say it was the responsibility of police to keep order. ''He lamented there were difficulties in controlling public areas.''
He said closing the Bahama Hut meant patrons would disperse to a wider area in the CBD. ''The reality is that there is no evidence that good order would be enhanced.''
The committee was told that the line up of licensed premises in Hamilton that closed at 3am could change dramatically. Cornerstone had given notice that it plans to move and Flannaghans had also given notice that it will move shortly.
The committee reserved its decision.