Police appeal against strip club booze licence
Police have taken the rare step of appealing to the High Court against a decision to approve a liquor licence for Wellington strip club Calendar Girls.
The Liquor Licensing Authority granted an on-licence for the Dixon St club late last month, allowing it to sell alcohol between 7am and 3am daily.
The club's opening had been delayed for about two months while it waited for the decision.
Wellington police filed their appeal last Tuesday. A hearing date has not been set.
Police and brothers Michael and John Chow, who own the rival Mermaid Bar in Courtenay Place, opposed the new club's liquor licence earlier this year. Both parties raised concerns about the club's links to James Samson, who was sentenced to five years' jail in 2004 for making and conspiring to make and supply P. Mr Samson is the husband of the club's director, Jacqui Le Prou.
One of the conditions of the licence granted to the club is that Mr Samson is not allowed on site when it is open for the sale and supply of liquor.
A Justice Ministry spokesman said less than half a per cent of the authority's decisions were taken to appeal.
''Appeals against Liquor Licensing Authority decisions are rare, and can only be made on grounds of suitability or on questions of law.'' A request by The Dominion Post for further details of the police's submission to the authority was rejected while the decision is being appealed.
''It's not appropriate for police to make any comment given the matter is still before the court,'' Wellington area commander Inspector Chris Scahill said.
However, he confirmed police had visited the club since it opened.
''Police can't comment on the details of any visits because it may or may not be be a part of any appeal or subsequent public hearing.''
Defence lawyer Keith Jefferies said anyone could challenge a decision by the authority, but very few did because of the cost and the narrow grounds for appeal.
''I don't know what grounds they [police] have appealed on, but generally there has to be a substantive legal mistake and in this case I don't think there was.
''It seems a bit unfair because it's a place where people don't primarily go to drink - they go there to see a show and the drinking is an auxiliary.
''The police are taking it too personally and they are overlooking the overall procedures, policies and principles of the act ... in terms of the abuse of alcohol.''
Ms Le Prou could not be reached for comment.
- The Dominion Post