Publican banned for five years

By Chris Thomson | posted on March 8, 2018

THE sole licensee of the Ongerup Hotel from April 2009 to October 2017 has been banned from running pubs for five years and fined $10,000 after serving alcohol past the hotel’s mandated closing time to a man who later crashed a four-wheel-drive whose passenger was killed.

In her written decision of February 21, Liquor Commission of Western Australia Presiding Member Mara Barone noted that at 7.27pm on December 3, 2015, John Robert Hooper and Rodney Spencer began drinking at the hotel in the small Great Southern town.

In facts accepted by licensee John William Guy, he and bartender Kaitlin Hilyard continued serving alcohol past midnight, in contravention of the hotel’s licence, until 1.53am.

At some stage, Mr Hooper left the hotel to sleep in his 4WD, and Mr Spencer followed soon after.

In her ruling, Ms Barone observed that Mr Spencer drove the 4WD, before crashing in the early hours of December 4, resulting in Mr Hooper’s death.

Emergency services staff described some people at the scene as clearly affected by alcohol, or intoxicated.

The attending police officer was concerned the situation could escalate, given the bystanders’ behaviour.

Ms Hilyard told police that Guy had told her not to speak to police, and then said that, if asked, she should say she finished work at midnight and had a drink behind the hotel before leaving for home.

Guy did not admit he told Ms Hilyard those things.

On February 28 last year, Guy pleaded guilty in Katanning Magistrates Court to 16 charges of trading outside permitted hours, and one count of permitting a person to take liquor from licensed premises in an unauthorised manner.

He was fined a total of $1500 for those offences.

Guy had been a licensee of the hotel for 23 years, including a period as sole licensee from April 2009 to October 2017.

Ms Barone fined him $10,000 and banned him from running a hotel for five years.

On behalf of Guy, his lawyers, Dwyer Durack, said: “We have no instructions to make any comments to the press”.