For the second time this year, the Sandpiper Pub has been closed by the Liquor Control and Licensing Board as penalty for violations noted last summer.
And while pub co-owner Judy Baker said she can’t prove the rules weren’t broken, she is frustrated that the punishment – a six-day suspension of the pub’s liquor licence – was imposed without hard evidence.
“I’m not saying we didn’t do it. I wasn’t there on the night in question,” Baker said Wednesday. “All I’m saying is there was no evidence. Without any tests or evidence, you can’t just say somebody’s guilty.”
Following an appeal hearing in March, the penalty was pronounced Aug. 1 in connection with two infractions noted on one night in August 2012: one involving a patron drinking from a jug and the other involving not removing an intoxicated person from the premises.
Baker – who shares ownership of the pub with White Rock Coun. Bill Lawrence – said she argued that the LCLB failed to prove that the person found drinking from a jug was consuming beer; and, that officials failed to take any steps to determine the alcohol intake of the allegedly intoxicated customer.
Baker said affidavits from her staff state the jug contained a mixture of ginger ale and an energy drink; and that the only evidence with regard to the intoxicated customer was that of a liquor inspector who described the woman’s face as “slack” and said she bumped into people.
Baker was further frustrated that both the original hearing and the appeal were presided over by the same adjudicator.
“There was no fairness to this at all,” she said.
Baker described the financial hit from being closed over the long weekend as “staggering.”
The pub is to reopen Friday.
Earlier this year, the pub’s licence was suspended for 17 days, after it found operating over-capacity twice last summer. The overcrowding infractions were not appealed, but did prompt an application to the LCLB to increase the pub’s licensed capacity to 115. A decision on that application has not yet been made.