A hotel in Toowoomba and a restaurant in Bulimba have been charged for selling liquor illegally for almost six months without a licence or permit.
Boutique Pub Co was fined $40,000 in the Toowoomba Magistrates Court on July 12, 2019 for breaching section 169 of the Liquor Act by selling liquor illegally at the business The Florence when no licence or permit was in place.
Thirsty Occasions was also fined $50,000 on 19 July 2019 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for carrying out the same offence at the business Oxford Garden.
Both companies have the same director.
Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) investigators recommended that the venues cease selling liquor until they had the correct authority in place, but both companies continued trading for several days until the authority of a licence on an interim basis was applied for and approved while OLGR continued their investigations.
Acting Executive Director for the OLGR Brian Bauer said OLGR investigators were alerted to both cases in November 2018 when they found the new owners who purchased the businesses in July 2018 did not have a liquor licence.
“By law, if a new business owner wants to continue selling liquor at a venue previously licensed they can apply to the OLGR to conduct business on the premises on an interim basis while they transfer the licence, or lodge an application for a new type of licence with the OLGR,” Bauer said.
Bauer said as part of the investigations into the venues selling liquor illegally, the OLGR executed a search warrant at The Florence and Oxford Garden.
“At Florence House they found a sales summary that showed $177,768 worth of liquor had been sold from July 25 to November 23, 2018 when no licence or permit was in place,” he said.
“The company director also provided OLGR with a sales summary from Oxford Garden showing sales of $354,532 of liquor had also been sold without a licence or permit from 11 July to 26 November 2018.
Bauer said with the due date of July 31 for annual licence fees looming, these successful prosecutions were a timely reminder that selling liquor without the appropriate licence or permit was illegal.
“At this time every year we collect annual licence fees and unless an agreement has already be made with us to pay in instalments, licensees who fail to pay by July 31 will have their liquor and gaming licence suspended and if not paid within 28 days of suspension, will have their licence cancelled,” he said.
“If a licensee is found by us to be selling liquor while their licence is either suspended or cancelled, they may be subject to an infringement notice, prosecution or disciplinary action.”