It is not an offence for the licensee if an unduly intoxicated patron remains on the licensed premises. The reason for this is to allow licensees some discretion in dealing with the patron. The licensee may be concerned that evicting the patron to find own transport may place the patron in danger. However, the patron should be closely monitored to ensure there is no further access to liquor.
This does not mean that licensees can “balance out” the harm in serving the patron to a state of undue intoxication, with caring for the patron after service is refused. If an unduly intoxicated person is found on the premises, police or licensing investigators will ask why the patron is there, how the patron reached the current state, and what action is being taken. Examples of the type of action being taken by the licensee may include:
- allowing the patron to wait for friends to finish their drinks and take him/her home
- waiting for a spouse or friend, or a staff member to finish duty, to take the patron home
- providing the patron water, coffee, food and time to sober up before tackling public transport
The licensee is not immune from action being taken if a police officer or licensing investigator believes the circumstances, and particularly the intoxication level of patrons, generally warrant further action.