Pub loses Supreme Court fight over underage drink

A pub found guilty of allowing drink be supplied to a child has lost a Supreme Court appeal which centred on its claim that the charge should have been dismissed because it exercised “due diligence” in assessing whether the girl was old enough to be served alcohol.

Waxy O’Connors, trading as Waxy’s Bar, Marlboro St, Cork, was convicted in the District Court of letting the 17-year-old to be supplied with beer in April 2006, contrary to the Intoxicating Liquor Acts 1988 and 2000.

Waxy’s claimed she had produced an age card with a fuzzy photo to try to gain entry and was refused by a doorman. He did allow her in when she produced a passport and driver’s licence, both of which, it turned out, did not belong to her.

A garda who came to the pub challenged the girl and after about 10 minutes she owned up to not being the person in the documents.

After conviction, the pub was ordered to close for 11 days which, Waxy’s said, would lead to the loss of around €14,000 in profits and additional wage costs of €2,980.

Waxy’s took judicial review proceedings in the High Court which dismissed the challenge.

Waxy’s appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.

In a judgment yesterday , Mr Justice John MacMenamin affirmed the High Court decision.

He said the defence case in the District Court hinged entirely on showing Waxy’s used due diligence in preventing young people getting access to the pub.

However, there was no evidence in relation to the barman who served the drink having actually asked for an age card “or even having exercised any due diligence” in finding out her age, he said.


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