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Liquor board Briefs
Nine-day suspension for Monkey Tree

Katherine Hudson
Northern News Services
Published Friday, December 16, 2011

The NWT Liquor Licensing Board fined Sam's Monkey Tree $5,000 for allowing intoxicated persons to enter and remain in the establishment and also handed down a nine-day liquor licence suspension from Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. to Jan. 23 at 10 a.m. for selling/serving alcohol to intoxicated individuals.

Both penalties arise from offences observed by liquor inspectors during the bar's Halloween party.

At Monday's compliance hearing, liquor inspector Kerry Nicholson said he observed three people he said were intoxicated on the night of Saturday, Oct. 29.

Nicholson, who was a witness at the hearing, stated he performed his inspection from 1:54 to 2:25 a.m. and noticed a man "staggering around, bumping into people," with glazed, red eyes and slurred speech and saying "cheers" and clinking drinks with other patrons.

The man said he had seven rum and ice drinks before attending the Monkey Tree and had three at the bar.

Nicholson also noticed a woman who "took a fall on the dance floor" near broken beer bottles. When he asked how much she had to drink, she said, "I honestly don't remember. I'm going home."

Nicholson said he then saw one woman helping another walk to the front door of the bar. "She was really swaying ... (Her speech was) extremely slurry, extremely broken."

"It was a long, painful process to watch" the woman attempt to walk up the stairs to the exit, said Nicholson. The woman said she had one, maybe two bottles of wine that night.

Nicholson said while he was sure the woman was getting into a cab, licence-holder Harvey Bourgeois came up to Nicholson and fellow inspector Leonard Brotherston, saying "I am very disappointed in both of you."

Steve Dinham, owner/manager of Sam's Monkey Tree, said saying "cheers" is common practice and that there might have been broken glass because people were wearing costumes that night. He said the night was "special," being Halloween, and people were making an extra effort to stay out later than they would normally, making patrons appear tired by that late time.

After the decision was rendered, Dinham told Yellowknifer he thought the penalty was "a bit excessive."

"Safety is our primary concern and we thought that we did everything as stated in the Liquor Act."

Boston Pizza fined first time in 15 years

Boston Pizza was hit with its first liquor violation Tuesday in more than 15 years of business - a $500 fine for allowing an intoxicated people to enter and remain in the establishment and a one-day liquor licence suspension for serving or selling alcohol to an intoxicated individual.

Karen Lajoie, legal counsel for liquor enforcement, read the agreed statement of facts at the compliance hearing at The Explorer Hotel.

She said liquor inspectors Kerry Nicholson and Frank Yakimchuk entered the establishment on Oct. 14 around 10:30 p.m. There was a tall, blonde woman who was unsteady on her feet and the inspectors noticed a strong smell of alcohol.

When she exited the lounge, she held onto the ATM in the foyer for support. Exiting the premises, she staggered out to a cab and fell down.

When the woman was safely in the cab, Nicholson and Yakimchuk asked staff on duty to see the surveillance video of the night's events.

Lajoie said the woman was evidently part of a group of 20. The woman was drinking rye and diet pop and wine.

Lajoie asked for a fine of $500 and no liquor licence suspension for both counts seeing as the establishment had a clean record in 15 years and staff were extremely co-operative during the incident and leading up to the hearing.

Colin Baile, chair of the board, said a compliance penalty of $500 for first count is to be paid on or before Jan. 14.

"Fifteen years of business without any prior appearance to this board is exemplary. However, it is a serious offence and we must be aware of the required penalty as well as the public interest," he said.

Boston Pizza faces a one-day liquor licence suspension from Jan. 13 at 10 a.m. to Jan. 14 at 10 a.m.

Hearings adjourned until February

The Diner, the Yellowknife Elks Club and Le Frolic were scheduled to have compliance hearings with the NWT Liquor Licensing Board on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively. However, the Yellowknife establishments will be waiting a little bit longer for the proceedings to continue.

Trisha Paradis, GNWT legal counsel, spoke to the proceedings involving The Diner and Le Frolic, stating "the matter has been adjourned to February 2012 and will be dealt with then."

In the Elks Club hearing on Thursday, both GNWT counsel Karen Lajoie and Paul Smith of the Elks Club agreed to adjourn the hearing until February.

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