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Hindley St nightclub's bad record

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Hindley Street nightclub The Palace has “the highest record of alcohol related incidents in the State”, SA Police say.

Liquor Enforcement Branch officers made the claim in statements tendered at a Licensing Court hearing on August 14 and published this week.

The Court heard details of the club’s record during a recent legal challenge to a police application for stricter controls over two nightclubs – The Palace and Red Square – owned by Palace Gallery Pty Ltd.

Police wanted tighter restrictions at the clubs, including compulsory CCTV, restricted access after 2.00am, limits to the quantity and nature of alcoholic beverages sold after midnight, polycarbonated glassware after midnight and changes related to queuing, evidence of age, metal detectors and bans on members of bikie gangs.

In support of the controls, police submitted affidavits by officers Sergeant Beaumont and Senior Constable Fullston detailing the state of affairs in Hindley Street and the risk it poses to the public.

Beaumont’s statement followed a six month period of monitoring that showed The Palace had the highest record of alcohol-related incidents in the State and that there had been an increase in the number of incidents.

The Liquor Enforcement Branch monitored the clubs between 1 May and 31 October 2012.

“He (Beaumont) expresses his opinion that restricted access to venues (generally on Hindley St) is necessary to minimise the risk to patrons and to minimise the risk of grossly intoxicated persons gaining entry and re-entry into licensed premises,” the Court heard.

“The promotion and consumption of shots after midnight significantly increased levels of intoxication.

“The use of glassware in venues created a very dangerous environment, queuing outside of the venues was ‘disgraceful’ and patrons vomiting and urinating in the streets was disgusting and was an environmental hazard.”

Beaumont’s affidavit claimed that ID scanning is a necessary and appropriate condition to be imposed upon Red Square and The Palace “as it could provide a very good aid to police, licensees and patrons in the event of a serious incident at a particular venue”.

He also said the presence of outlawed motor cycle gangs and their associates in these licensed venues created a serious risk to members of the public using the licensed premises.

The police statements detailed assaults between patrons at Red Square on 10 January 2012, 11 February 2012, 18 February 2012, 14 April 2012, 17 June 2012, 14 July 2012, 28 July 2012, 4 August 2012, 19 August 2012, 26 August 2012, 16 September 2012, 29 September 2012, 4 November 2012 and 22 December 2012.

It also detailed alleged assaults by security or staff upon patrons in and about Red Square on 31 March 2012, 22 April 2012, 25 April 2012, 10 June 2012, 16 June 2012, 4 August 2012, 11 August 2012, 12 August 2012, 24 August 2012 and 29 December 2012.

Beaumont said that the Liquor Enforcement Branch were becomingly increasingly concerned about drunkenness and violent behaviour within the Adelaide CBD, and in particular the Hindley Street and Light Square precinct.

He described a groundswell of public concern following a stabbing that occurred following an altercation at a nightclub in Light Square on 4 August 2012.

Police also supplied information from the Hindley Street Uniform Tactical Team for the period from 1 August to 8 November 2012.

The information listed details for Hindley Street generally, including the issue of 314 expiation notices for possessing or consuming alcohol in a dry zone, 156 expiation notices for disorderly behaviour in the vicinity of a licensed premises, 118 arrests or reports for street offences, 69 arrests for urinating in a public place, 22 arrests for assault and 26 expiation notices issued for pedestrian related offences.

David Edwardson QC, for the licensee, said police statistics in relation to arrests and alleged offences in the city of Adelaide did not relate specifically to the conditions that are sought.

“Hence, he said that this material is completely irrelevant and that it follows, to use his words, that this is going nowhere,” Judge Gilchrist said.

The judge refused Edwardson’s client’s application to dismiss the police moves to impose the new controls over Palace Gallery Pty Ltd.

The police application proceeded to further hearings.

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