Bar's licence hearing to be heard by judge

A Queenstown bar will have its application for a new liquor licence heard by a judge after reaching a stalemate with the Queenstown Lakes District Council's District Licensing Committee.

Lawyers acting for the Powder Room successfully argued the District Licensing Committee did not have the jurisdiction to handle the hearing because the bar's application was now being "vigorously opposed" by Queenstown police. The bar's application had also been filed before December 18 last year, when District Licensing committees came into power across the nation.

Details of why police were opposing a new liquor licence remained scant, but Sergeant Linda Stevens said there were concerns over the "suitability of the bar's general manager and a duty manager, Charlotte McCubbine."

McCubbine is a director of the company operating the bar Barra Pista Ltd. A new general manager who started yesterday was also at the hearing.

After the hearing a lawyer acting for the Powder Room Tanya Surrey said police had "opposed a new licence because of alleged breaches of previous licence."

Bar owners had also been "ambushed" by issues and briefs filed by police, the latest of which left them less than one working to day to respond. However, Stevens said bar owners had not applied for disclosure of evidence.

A judge acting as the chairman of a three person panel for the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority will now hear the case, which will be scheduled for later in the year.

Well known Queenstown Irish pub Pog Mahones was scheduled to have its application for a special licence heard, but withdrew the application. 

The Southland Times