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​Case of Deja vu for former Kings Croess licensee

Friday 15 August 2014    [PDF, 105kb]

The former licensee of Kings Cross venue Déjà Vu, John Barakat, has been ordered to pay $11,700 in fines and professional costs after being convicted of four liquor law offences in Downing Centre local court on 12 August 2014.

The Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing (OLGR) prosecuted Mr Barakat after compliance inspectors identified a number of breaches at the venue and Mr Barakat failed to produce information and records as required while he was the licensee.

The four offences were:

  • On 7 December 2013 OLGR Inspectors issued a notice to Mr Barakat to produce information and records, which he failed to do. Mr Barakat pleaded guilty and was convicted and fined $1,500.
  • On 19 January 2014 OLGR Inspectors conducted a further inspection of Déjà Vu at which time a man was observed handing out Déjà Vu promotional flyers offering discounts and special offers about 80 metres from the venue, contrary to a written notice served on the venue earlier that month under the Liquor Act. Mr Barakat pleaded guilty and was convicted and fined $1,500.
  • Also on 19 January 2014 OLGR Inspectors observed no identifiable responsible service of alcohol (RSA) marshal on duty, a requirement under the Kings Cross Precinct special licence conditions. Mr Barakat pleaded not guilty to the breach however the court found the offence proven and convicted and fined him $3,000 as well as ordered him to pay OLGR professional costs in the amount of $3,200.
  • On 20 January 2014 a further notice was issued to Mr Barakat to produce information and records. Again Mr Barakat failed to provide the information and records as required. Mr Barakat pleaded guilty and was convicted and fined $2,500.


OLGR Executive Director Paul Newson said the case demonstrated there are serious consequences when a venue fails to comply with regulatory directions or refuses to produce information in response to formal notices issued.

"Regulatory directions are important enforcement tools which are used to target irresponsible practices which increase the risk of alcohol related harm and disturbance and are out of step with community expectations." Mr Newson said

"Formal notices are used to assist OLGR and police inquiries, including securing evidence such as CCTV footage when investigating suspected offences. Failure to comply with a formal notice is taken very seriously and OLGR will take appropriate regulatory action, including prosecution, where such failure is without reasonable excuse."

These latest matters follow an earlier prosecution of Mr Barakat by OLGR in July 2014 for five other offences which attracted guilty pleas and resulted in Mr Barakat being ordered to pay more than $23,000 in fines and professional costs and being disqualified from being the holder of an approval to manage licensed premises for three months.

Back in March 2014 Déjà Vu was also subject to a short term closure order amid concerns that repeated breaches of the liquor laws placed public health and safety at risk.

OLGR has also lodged a disciplinary complaint with the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority recommending the disqualification of Mr Barakat, cancellation of Déjà Vu’s liquor licence and further monetary penalties.