Good call!!

Bar owners call for public drunkenness laws
Dominion Post 26 May 2012
If you’re drunk in public you should be prosecuted or fined, bar owners say. They serve up millions of alcoholic drinks each year, but publicans want drinkers to face criminal liability if caught intoxicated in a public place. They say it’s unfair that liquor licence holders are prosecuted for letting in drunks – but individuals face no legal penalty. Licensees who admit or serve drunk patrons can have their licences suspended or cancelled by the Liquor Licensing Authority. They also face fines of up to $10,000 in the district court. But Hospitality New Zealand says most alcohol-related problems in the central city involve young drinkers “pre-loading” at home on cheap alcohol before heading into town. “The industry just increasingly feels blamed for this culture,” Hospitality NZ regional manager Sara Tucker said.

….The Law Commission considered whether to introduce a new criminal offence of public drunkenness during its review of liquor laws in 2010. Ad Feedback  However, the proposal was dumped after police advised it was unworkable, a spokeswoman said. “Operationally they simply couldn’t manage arresting everyone who was drunk in a public place.” A senior Wellington police officer told The Dominion Post gauging whether someone was intoxicated was difficult and subjective, and complicated by the use of recreational drugs. A police submission to the Law Commission review warned that a return to the offence of public drunkenness would cause a spike in complaints, many during peak offending times. It would also clog the criminal justice system, consuming considerable court and police resources.


4 comments for “Good call!!

  1. David Favel
    27 May 2012 at 8:14 pm

    My lovely wife delights in tidying the route from work to home.
    After a weekend the roads into town are littered with empty bottles.
    Preloading is a huge problem, maybe a breath test before going into a pub would go some way to mitigate this problem.
    I suppose then drunks could just congregate on the streets causing more problems.

  2. Bob
    27 May 2012 at 8:33 pm

    If its ‘public’ drunkenness, it would cover both?

    See – we do agree on some things David!!! 🙂

    Issue by issue

  3. Margaret
    28 May 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Forgive me if I seem naive but I thought dealing with issues that are causing a public problem was more important than whether the criminal justice system was going to be overloaded. After all if we follow that train of thought why deal with burglary or slander or parking fines! Let’s just free up the system! OR just maybe such a law might help steer our culture away from the social acceptability of getting drunk as a way of life. A way of life that is killing our youth and causing untold chaos and pain in our homes and families. Maybe the money saved from picking up the pieces would well outweigh the cost of investing more in the criminal justice system!

  4. Bob
    28 May 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Exactly what I was thinking!!

    The other dumb argument like that is that we should decriminalize marijuana because keeping it illegal drives it ‘underground’.

    Perhaps we should decriminalize burglary because by making it illegal, it drives it underground and burglars don’t seek help 🙂

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