COOGEE PUB BAN AF­TER A COM­PLI­MENT BE­LIEVE THIS?

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - DANIELLE GUSMAROLI

POP­U­LAR Coogee Bay Ho­tel is re­view­ing its ex­clu­sions pol­icy af­ter pa­tron Heidi Lu­cas, who drunk­enly com­pli­mented a po­lice of­fi­cer six years ago, was “banned for life”. The ho­tel’s new op­er­a­tions man­ager Mitch Rose said he was go­ing through “piles of pa­per­work” dat­ing back years, af­ter Ms Lu­cas com­plained she was still un­able to drink there. De­spite not be­ing given any for­mal no­tice that she was banned, Ms Lu­cas said she was asked to leave any time she en­tered the ho­tel. “It’s hu­mil­i­at­ing and in­sult­ing … in front of my friends,” the aged care worker said. Mr Rose said he was re­view­ing “hun­dreds” of bans: “We don’t want peo­ple barred who don’t de­serve to be, we want Coogee Bay Ho­tel to re­main a friendly place.” Ms Lu­cas ad­mit­ted she’d had a lit­tle too much to drink when she com­pli­mented a po­lice of­fi­cer on his pris­tine uni­form as he pa­trolled the busy pub six years ago, but did not think it would raise an eye­brow. Within min­utes of walk­ing away, how­ever, she says she was ejected by four se­cu­rity guards and warned she was putting the li­censee at risk of a hefty fine. She didn’t go back for three years be­cause she was ashamed — but didn’t ex­pect that she would con­tinue to be kicked out years later, and told by a guard “you’ve been barred for life”.

“I can’t drink at the Coogee Bay Ho­tel any more be­cause I told a po­lice of­fi­cer I liked his uni­form and ad­mit­ted I was a lit­tle drunk — they’ve never for­got­ten it,” the 42-year-old said.

“You’d think I’d glassed some­one … or been com­pletely plas­tered ev­ery time, but I was only ever drunk there that once. Now when­ever the head se­cu­rity of­fi­cer spots me, he sends two or three bounc­ers to turf me out.”

Ms Lu­cas said one bouncer also told her: “You should know this place is dead to you.”

“I’ve never been served any writ­ten no­tice. I com­plained to the man­ager six months ago and he agreed it sounded ‘ex­ces­sive’ … but I’ve heard noth­ing back.”

The Liquor Act 2007 dic­tates that land­lords can eject or refuse en­try to any­one who is re­peat­edly drunk, vi­o­lent, dis­or­derly, or quar­rel­some for up to six months, and ex­tend that ban for a fur­ther six months. For­mal no­ti­fi­ca­tion must be served on pa­trons for longer bans im­posed at the li­censee’s dis­cre­tion.

Mr Rose said meet­ings had been sched­uled with the pub’s se­cu­rity team of 10 years to re­view ex­ist­ing bans.

“Six years sounds ex­ces­sive but Ms Lu­cas is on the top of our pile of com­plaints from peo­ple who feel they have been un­fairly barred,” he said. “I’m not go­ing to apol­o­gise for what hap­pened six years ago be­cause I wasn’t there, I will how­ever apol­o­gise for not get­ting back (to her) within six months.”

Heidi Lu­cas has com­plained at her ‘ex­ces­sive’ ban from Coogee Bay Ho­tel (inset) which is now re­view­ing its pol­icy. Pic­ture: Jenny Evans

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