Manager 'on probation' after serving drunks

Last updated 05:00 11/02/2014

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A Wanaka woman must wait six months before she can apply for a duty manager's certificate, the district licensing committee ruled yesterday.

At a hearing before retired District Court judge Bill Unwin, John Mann and Malika Rose, the panel adjourned an application for a certificate by Samantha McAlpine.

She was the temporary duty manager at Opium Bar during an incident on November 17.

Sergeant Linda Stevens, of Queenstown, said officers watching CCTV at 2am spotted a man drinking outside the Ardmore St bar. He vomited and was play-fighting before being allowed into the bar by security staff.

Police also noted people drinking in a liquor ban area, vomiting, urinating and fighting outside.

When police arrived, they went upstairs, removed the intoxicated patron and noticed up to a dozen more drunk patrons.

Ms McAlpine told police she was stacking glasses and did not see the intoxicated man.

"I have learned, unfortunately, not to trust my staff completely. I have learned a lot to really step up and keep an eye on everyone in the bar. Hopefully, I will be able to continue my career."

Director and bar owner Brendan Quirke said he was horrified by the actions of the doorman, who was dismissed.

"The entrance to the bar often attracts a lot of people who just hang around, often drinking, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. This has been an issue ever since I have owned the bar. On this occasion our doorman let us down very badly."

He said Ms McAlpine was retained on staff and was an honest and hardworking employee who learned valuable lessons from the incident.

Mr Unwin said the six-month adjournment could be considered as a probationary period. If the committee received a satisfactory report after six months a licence would be granted without a hearing, he said.

Ms McAlpine was allowed to take on responsibilities at the bar for up to six weeks during the six months.

Police and the Queenstown Lakes District Council are also considering enforcement action against Opium after noise complaints.

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