An Auckland karaoke bar has had its liquor licence suspended for six weeks after a duty manager was caught hiding "grossly intoxicated'' women in a back room during a police inspection.
Police officer Bridget Jane Suckling visited Partyworld bar in Canada St, Newton, on October 14 last year at 1.15am and saw a woman who appeared to be unconscious being carried into a back room, a New Zealand Liquor Licensing Authority decision reads.
When Suckling inspected the room she found two "heavily intoxicated'' women who were too drunk to respond to questions.
''The young women were carried into the back room because bar staff saw the police arriving and panicked,'' the decision reads.
"The attempts to remove the evidence of the extremely intoxicated young women by placing them in the unsupervised darkened room is reprehensible. Further, the effect of what was done was to place the young women at even greater risk of danger than they were previously.''
The duty manager told Suckling that before police arrived both women had been drinking with friends and were then placed in the lounge, "a place of safety'', while waiting to be picked up.
The decision noted the young women were "grossly intoxicated'' and must have been for some time before being placed in the lounge, which meant the duty manager was not fulfilling his responsibilities.
The duty manager was subsequently fired.
This is the third time enforcement action has been taken against Partyworld over intoxicated customers and the second attempt by management to remove drunk people from the premises when police arrived. The bar has also been prosecuted for promoting excessive drinking.
In June last year Partyworld's licence was suspended for two weeks.
The configuration of Partyworld makes liquor licensing compliance difficult, the decision reads.
The premises consist of 14 relatively small dark rooms which customers hire for drinking and karaoke. The rooms have one-way mirrors enabling staff to see what is happening inside, but the authority said they were inadequate as only part of the room could be seen from the outside.
Despite this police believe Partyworld is one of the better karaoke bars in Auckland, the decision reads, and had improved significantly lately.
The liquor ban came into force late last month.
The directors of Partyworld could not be reached for comment.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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