An elderly man with slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and a stench of methylated spirits was so intoxicated he soiled himself during police breath testing.
Now the Rotorua bottle store manager who sold him alcohol will have his certificate suspended for eight weeks and the store shut for 48 hours.
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It is the second time Ōwhata Thirsty Liquor manager Jaswinder Singh has been caught in breach of alcohol sales laws.
A newly released decision from the New Zealand Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority says on December 10 last year, a "tall, older male looking dishevelled… who had wet marks on the front and back of his pants" was refused service at a liquor store in Rotorua.
The duty manager called the police, saying the man had driven into the gutter. He gave police the man's vehicle description when it headed east on Te Ngae Rd.
The man had been "mumbling nonsensically", swaying back and forth and had to lean on a shelf to support himself when he tried to buy rum, the finding said.
Soon after, an Ōwhata medical centre called police with concerns about the sobriety of a patient who was about to leave the centre.
Evidence from Sergeant Pauline Jones, and CCTV footage shows that the man then drove to Ōwhata Thirsty Liquor after being refused service by the first liquor outlet.
Manager Jaswinder Singh sold him a one litre bottle of Black Heart rum and a 1.5 litre bottle of coke for $44.
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Sergeant Peter Jones then stopped a car matching the description near the airport, with an "extremely intoxicated" driver with wet stains on the front of his pants.
He said the man then soiled himself upon getting out of the car for testing "and seemed unaware he had done so".
The driver failed a breath test which recorded 1017mcg of alcohol per litre of breath, more than four times the legal limit of 250mcg.
The man was suspended from driving and summoned to appear in the Rotorua District Court.
Evidence from Sergeant Pauline Jones, and CCTV footage "clearly showed that the male had a wet patch on the front of his pants" while in Ōwhata Thirsty Liquor.
In June and July last year Singh's certificate was suspended for 28 days after he was caught selling alcohol to someone underage in February.
In regards to the December incident, Singh told the licensing and regulatory authority at a hearing last month the elderly man was a regular customer who purchased liquor two to three times a week.
"There was nothing about the man's behaviour or way of talking that was unusual or that indicated that he was unbalanced," he said.
Singh said the man looked the way he normally did, did not have problems using his eftpos card, was talking to the customer behind him and the stain wasn't visible through the counter.
He said the man thanked him and did a sort of a bow as he left the store.
Singh said he noticed no slurring, incoherence, smell or unsteadiness.
He also said when the man arrived at the store two days later with bloodshot eyes and walking unsteadily he was refused service.
Tarsem Singh, the managing director of TS & RK Bhullar Ltd, the licensee, said Jaswinder Singh was "a hardworking, conscientious employee and was aware that his certificate had been suspended for serving a minor last February".
He said Jaswinder had been "very conscious not to repeat that failure" and in his view, the elderly man did not show signs of intoxication in the CCTV footage.
Tarsem Singh said he was also the owner and manager of a grocery business in Taupō, "which holds an off licence and has had no record of failures in 12 years".
Authority chairperson Judge Kevin Kelly ordered that Ōwhata Thirsty Liquor's off-licence be suspended for 48 hours from 9am on November 18 this year.
He suspended Singh's manager's certificate for 56 days from November 17 to January 11 2020.
Lifewise Trust provides full-time community mental health and addictions support in residential programmes.
Rotorua manager Haehaetu Barrett said, "we hear of many of our people being served in the wider community that shouldn't be".
"It is unfortunate this has happened but we are aware that it happens."
To help prevent alcohol abuse she said businesses like Ōwhata Thirsty Liquor needed to be "consistently complying with their legal obligations".
Mokoia Community Association manager Mary Nicholas said she totally supported any action taken by the national licensing authority.
"Especially when the licensee has served someone who was clearly inebriated like this ... putting not only themselves at risk but also the wider community."
The Salvation Army's national operations manager for addiction services, Michael Douglas, said in his opinion in Thirsty Liquor Ōwhata's case "the consequences appear very light in terms of encouraging compliance with the law".
"We would advocate for stronger penalties. A minimum six month suspension for a first offence, 12 month suspension for a second offence and a three year suspension for a third offence of a manager's licence."
"Likewise, increasing the time a business would be required to cease operating to a minimum of one week loss of trading through to one month loss of trading," he said.
Rotorua Lakes Council said it had not received any complaints about Ōwhata Thirsty Liquor in the past five years.
Rotorua district liquor licences
• 139 on-licence premises
• 42 off-licence premises
• 25 club licence premises
Source: National alcohol licensing authority register (last updated in May)