Australian State Aghast Over Nightclub Violence

by Gopalan on  March 23, 2009 at 4:20 PM Alcohol & Drug Abuse News
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 Australian State Aghast Over Nightclub Violence
Victorian state authorities are aghast over a fierce brawl at a nightclub in Melbourne. Premier John Brumby has said the government would not hesitate to cancel the licence for nightspots that do not get their act together.

Police have launched an investigation into the incident at the Queensbridge Hotel, known as QBH, in Southbank in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Ten people were injured during the fight.

Police are using footage from the nightclub's security cameras to identify the 20 to 30 people involved in the brawl.

A succession of violent incidents have occurred at the club, with two men killed in fights there in the past two years.

Mr Brumby said the government had toughened laws and given police and the director of liquor licensing, Sue McLellan, stronger powers.

"We've obviously had and still have an issue in relation to the CBD and really I can't say it enough, all of these venues are on notice," Mr Brumby told reporters.

"We want people to be able to enjoy themselves but we don't want repeats of the sort of incident that we saw at the weekend."

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle suggested glasses and bottles should be banned in venues and the number of patrons limited to under 1,000.

"It may be appropriate on a venue-by-venue basis but that'll be a matter for the director of liquor licensing to examine," Mr Brumby said.

Ms McLellan said she was waiting on a report from police before taking action against the club.

"I can take similar action to police; I can also look at changing conditions on their licence if that is warranted," Ms McLellan said.

Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe told reporters he has asked his officers to look at all incidents involving QBH.

Mr Walshe stopped short of calling QBH the "worst venue" in the city, saying violent incidents were happening "more and more often" around Melbourne.

Bruce Mathieson, national operations manager of QBH owner Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, said the venue would continue to work with police and authorities to prevent similar incidents.

"QBH had more than the required number of security staff on duty, a comprehensive CCTV recording system, a black box recorder which scans driver's licences of patrons and experienced management on duty," Mr Mathieson said.

Last September, a man died after he was punched in the head in an argument at the nightclub and in May 2007 a man died after being bashed by a group of men outside the premises.

Security footage taken outside nightclub shows dozens of people, including women, throwing metal bollards and glass bottles at bouncers and innocent patrons.

The horrifying footage shows a group of men kicking and punching bouncers. One bouncer had a lucky escape - his colleagues pulled him back inside the club after the mob tried attack him.

Metal bollards, fences and bottles are smashed outside the place with some bollards thrown towards patrons waiting in line.

One patron is lucky to be alive after a flurry of punches from the group.

Victoria Police Detective Senior Constable Jason Hare said the violent brawl started inside QBH on Saturday night after a woman was asked to leave for smoking.

"It's pretty serious, it's certainly one of the more serious brawls you'll see and that I've seen for a while," Detective Senior Constable Hare said.

"In that footage it's not just males, it's females involved as well and it's particularly dangerous with the glass being thrown around."

Deputy Commissioner Walshe said he still believed Melbourne was a safe place at night however, he did say he would advise his own children to think twice about attending venues like QBH.

"I would probably ask them to think seriously if they need to go to QBH or do they need to go into the city, is there some other venue they can go to," Mr Walshe said.

Mr Walshe said police had the power to revoke liquor licenses but it must be done through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

"We have a power to take matters under the liquor control format through to VCAT, but we need to have evidence to put before VCAT and so we've done that with venues and hotels from time to time around state," Mr.Walshe said.

Source: Medindia

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