Police line up to curb late-night Kapiti bar

Last updated 09:01 07/11/2012
FOUND UNCONSCIOUS: Izak Millanta, 17, died in Wellington Hospital a day after he was found unconscious in a mall car park in Paraparaumu, north of Wellington.
FOUND UNCONSCIOUS: Izak Millanta, 17, died in Wellington Hospital a day after he was found unconscious in a mall car park in Paraparaumu, north of Wellington.
Sean Strongman-Lintern
STABBING VICTIM: Sean Strongman-Lintern.

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Seventeen police officers have given evidence seeking the suspension or cancellation of Kapiti's late-night Retro Bar licence, or a reduction in its opening hours.

Regional Public Health and a liquor licensing inspector also supported closure or restrictions at a Liquor Licensing Authority hearing in Paraparaumu yesterday.

lzak Millanta, 17, died in August and Sean Strongman-Lintern, 20, in September, after both were attacked in car parks around the bar at Kapiti Lights.

Police are applying for the cancellation or suspension of Retro duty manager David Aitken's general manager's certificate.

Constable Lauren Coleman described dealing with a fight in the Kapiti Lights car park involving drunk and aggressive members of rival groups from Otaki and Paraparaumu, and finding an unconscious man lying on the ground.

She saw people coming and going from the bar, despite its one- way door policy at that time of night. Some patrons were also being let in despite failing to meet the dress code, she said.

Sergeant Ian Osland said there was a high incidence of disorderly behaviour in the Kapiti Lights "hot spot", involving patrons from bars in the area. Late-night revellers congregated outside the Retro as other bars closed, he said.

Retro was the only one open until 3am at weekends.

Increased police patrols had produced some "knee-jerk" reactions from the bar, but he did not believe the licensee had the right attitude. "We have never had to deal with this level of disorder, serious assaults and non- compliance of an establishment."

Mr Millanta's death had strong links to the bar, Mr Osland said.

Police described late-night brawls involving patrons, threats to kill, and a 15-year-old outside the bar being supplied with alcohol by his sister.

"There are often arguments and fighting, and door staff do nothing to step in," Sergeant Sam Gilpin said. "The bar is attracting undesirable people."

Detective Sergeant James McKay said there had been several serious assaults involving people in and around the bar before Mr Millanta's death, and associates of Mr Strongman-Lintern had been drinking at the bar earlier on the night he died.

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Regional Public Health regulatory officer Jayne Paris said food was not easily accessible for late- night patrons, and she did not support a renewal of the bar's licence.

Liquor licence inspector Gay Ball said that, in light of many incidents at the bar, she did not believe its hours of operation were suitable. The staff were not experienced enough, and let patrons dictate how the bar was run.

Amy Spiekerman, daughter of general manager Mark Spiekerman, said Retro was a family bar. She did not agree with the level of intoxication described by police, saying staff used police intoxication charts to assess patrons.

Mr Aitken did not agree with police assessments of intoxication either, saying that drunk patrons were refused alcohol, offered glasses of water, and taxis home. The bar had a one-way0door policy late at night, adhered to a dress code, and food was available.

Contact Kay Blundell
Kapiti reporter
Email: kay.blundell@dompost.co.nz

- The Dominion Post


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