Mothers hail move to cancel bar licence

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2012
Sean Strongman-Lintern
STABBING VICTIM: Sean Strongman-Lintern.
Millanta
VICTIM: Slain teen Izak Millanta.

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The mothers of two young men who died after being attacked in car parks near Paraparaumu's late-night Retro Bar have welcomed news that it can no longer serve alcohol.

Izak Millanta, 17, died in August, and Sean Strongman-Lintern, 20, died in September after they were beaten near the bar at Kapiti Lights.

Mr Millanta's mother, Christine Wikaira, said a Liquor Licensing Authority decision not to renew the bar's on-licence was fantastic.

"It was the best decision, the only decision that could have been made given the deaths, and the hive of underground activity that has been going on there for years.

"It is not just about the deaths of my son and Sean, it is about what has been going on there for a long time."

Mr Strongman-Lintern's mother, Nichole Craig, said it "sends a message out [about] responsible licensing".

Retro was described by police as a "drinking den" and one of the worst bars in the Wellington district when 17 officers gave evidence to the authority last month, either opposing the renewal of its licence or seeking a reduction in its opening hours.

Sergeant Jacquie Muir, of Kapiti, said police were extremely happy about the authority's reserved decision, which was made public by police yesterday.

"They say they are not satisfied this licensee has the will, initiative or judgmental ability to continue to operate these premises without liquor abuse problems occurring," Ms Muir said.

In March, police advised Retro Bar's licensees they were monitoring it and another bar to ensure they were meeting their Sale of Liquor Act obligations.

"Following serious concerns about alcohol-related harm, one bar immediately made improvements, the Retro Bar did not, so it was no surprise this ended up an application to the LLA."

Although the authority renewed owner Mark Spiekerman's general manager's certificate, it said that, because the on-licence was not renewed, "it is possible Mr Spiekerman will no longer be involved in the industry".

The bar was closed last night.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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