Letters: Who is really responsible for drunks in venues?
TWICE during the last few months the GT has reported local hotels are being fined for having a person who is inebriated on their premises.
It appears that all an inspector of the Office of Liquor and Gaming has to do is find a drunken person on the street and follow him into a hotel.
As at one Mary St hotel, the inebriated person had not been ejected back into the street for 40 minutes, the hotel was prosecuted and fined.
Magistrate M. Baldwin said the licensee failed to take positive action to remove the man earlier.
"We need to make sure the community is protected from drunken idiots," she said.
Well I agree, the community needs protection but was horrified that the hotel director admitted, "the buck stops with them".
What's gone wrong with our society when the wrong doer staggers off to the next hotel or drinks in the street and the hotel manager is made responsible for assessing levels of drunkenness?
The hotel keeper is now guilty of making a judgment on how drunk a person is or how quickly they should be ejected.
Would we prosecute our magistrates for making a slow decision or a wrong decision?
I think not.
What has happened to the principle of individual responsibility? Have we forgotten the punishment must fit the crime?
Do we punish all the well behaved patrons of the hotel by closing all hotels?
In past years police patrolled the streets, locking up drunks for the night.
We still are taxed; we all pay for what was once a protection of the community.
In past years a hotelier could phone the police if a drunk was misbehaving; the police would lock up the person and he or she could explain their actions to the magistrate.
In the last few years that responsibility of the individual has been shifted.
We have all been punished; the police are out raising revenue, hounding good people for speeding fines and the community has nowhere to go for a good meal as the hotels are closing.
I would never deny a person their individual right to sell, buy or consume alcohol, but people have to be responsible for their own actions.
As with firearms, the punishment must fit the crime to the individual who misbehaves.
The manufacturer of the firearm is not guilty, just like the person who sold the bank robber a getaway car is not.
Law and justice cannot be dispensed to punish all law abiding firearm owners, or all law abiding hoteliers.
Our individual and community rights are not just being eroded, they are being reversed.