Bada Bing strip club loophole

The NSW government's signature policy to stamp out rogue licensed venues has been ridiculed as impotent after a Kings Cross strip club failed to register a single strike under the three-strikes law, despite a plethora of incidents.

Bada Bing has hosted intoxicated customers, breached its liquor licence conditions and even had staff violently attack patrons, according to a brief given to authorities by Kings Cross police last year.

But the liquor licensing authority says not one ''strike'' has been issued against the club because none of the incidents meets the criteria of the scheme.

In a news conference on Thursday, Premier Barry O'Farrell highlighted the laws as one of the government's key responses to combating alcohol-related violence.

But alcohol campaigner Tony Brown said the revelation exposed the scheme's ''complete impotency and makes a lie of the government's mantra that we have the toughest liquor laws in Australia''.

In February last year Kings Cross police applied to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority for an order to revoke Bada Bing's 24-hour liquor licence.

The 2800-page application listed 129 ''events'' since 2010. About one-third of the incidents have occurred since the ''three strikes'' laws came into force in 2012.

On April 25 there was ''a violent, unprovoked attack on the premises committed by four venue staff, including two marshalls [for the responsible service of alcohol], upon four patrons''.

The scene was cleaned up by a staff member - in contravention of a licence condition - who told police he did so because ''I don't like mess''. 

The police identified the patrons as ''intoxicated''. In May, the club was issued with an infringement notice after a stripper made contact with a customer in breach of a licence condition.

In June the club did not comply with a police request for CCTV footage because it kept footage for only 14 days instead of the 30 days required by the licence. Police say this hindered an investigation.

Under the three-strikes law, a strike may be issued for a range of serious licence breaches including ''permitting intoxication'' and permitting ''indecent, violent or quarrelsome conduct''. If three strikes are made against a venue, it may lose its licence.

But a strike is issued only upon a conviction or payment of a penalty notice for specific breaches set out in the Liquor Act. To date not one venue in NSW has been issued with three strikes, although it is understood one will be announced soon.

A spokesman for the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing said despite the ''events'' in the police submission, Bada Bing had ''not received a relevant infringement notice or conviction for a proscribed offence under the scheme''.

Opposition Leader John Robertson said it was ''absolutely dumbfounding'' and Mr O'Farrell's failure to act on calls, including from Labor, to implement blanket 3am closing and 1am lockouts meant he had ''absolutely failed to tackle alcohol-fuelled violence''.

In submissions to ILGA, Bada Bing's owner Kyriacos Papadopoulos claims assault and intoxication incidents in the police report are ''misclassified'' and he ''vehemently denies'' there are high levels of intoxication at the venue.

But ILGA ordered a 2am lockout and 3am closing time be imposed on Bada Bing. The club received a stay on the order in the Supreme Court shortly before Christmas. An appeal is due to be heard next month.

Hospitality Minister George Souris declined to comment because of the court action.

SMH.COM.AU

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