The party is over for two former Kings Cross bar operators who have been banned for life from holding a liquor licence, after an unprecedented display of contempt for patrons’ safety and law enforcement.
Acting Premier and Minister for Justice and Police Troy Grant said today the life bans were the toughest sanction to be taken against a rogue operator in NSW under the Liquor Act.
The bans resulted from a special application brought by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) and the NSW Police Force to the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority. It was against former licensee John Barakat and his close associate, venue manager Dominic Kaikaty, who ran Kings Cross bar Déjà Vu between January 2013 and March 2014. The pair no longer run the business.
Prior to the bans, prosecution and penalties were already imposed for a catalogue of serious breaches and crimes that occurred under their management, including:
• Serving 10 shots, six beers and mixed spirits to two minors aged 15 and 17. The 17-year-old was then sick inside the venue before collapsing on the footpath outside where he was kicked by a venue promoter and told to move on.
• Mr Kaikaty being charged and convicted of supplying drugs after being found in possession of six small bags of cocaine inside the venue.
• Venue staff assaulting a member of the public and staff not reporting assaults to police.
• Continuous irresponsible promotions offering low-priced shots including a Facebook promotion stating: “Keep calm. It’s Friday night. Get drunk”. A cartoon depicting women engaged in apparent illicit drug use inside toilets also appeared on the venue’s Facebook page.
Offensive posts appearing on the venue’s Facebook page included a photo of Mr Barakat, Mr Kaikaty and others with their middle fingers extended accompanied by a profane message to police.
Mr Grant said the venue was forced to shut down for 72 hours in March 2014 but the contempt showed by these individuals warranted the exceptional action of life bans.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will not tolerate licensees running a venue like it’s a Hangover movie. Operating a licensed venue carries serious responsibilities to community and patron safety,’’ Mr Grant said.
“The contempt they showed for authorities is extraordinary and as a result of Government action the party is now well and truly over for these two.’