Glassing leads to penalty call

A COFFS Coast licensee is calling for tougher penalties following the glassing of a patron at the Coffs Hotel on Tuesday night.

Martyn Phillips, the hotel's licensee, described glassings as 'cowardly acts', and he wants laws to be changed. “It doesn't matter whether it happens at a hotel, club, cafe or backyard barbecue, there needs to be stronger penalties,” he said.

“There is no excuse for this sort of violence. Anyone who commits a violent act on my premises, or even outside, will be barred from the hotel ... We will be as harsh as we can be.”

The St Patrick's Day party at the hotel turned sour when a Coffs Harbour man, aged 26, was glassed about 8pm.

The man was sitting in the beer garden when another Coffs Harbour man, 35, approached him.

Police said the pair began arguing and the 35-year-old allegedly struck the younger man in the side of his face with a schooner glass.

The 26-year-old suffered a deep cut to his left eye socket and a splinter of glass pierced his left eye.

He was taken to Coffs Harbour Health Campus and was later transferred to the Sydney Eye Hospital for surgery.

The 35-year-old was admitted to Coffs Harbour Health Campus where he had surgery for a bad cut to his right hand.

Mr Phillips said all his security arrangements were in place for St Patrick's Day, which he described as one of the best ever put on by his pub despite the glassing incident.

Mr Phillips said his staff were preparing to change over from serving drinks in glasses to drinks in plastic when the incident happened. “We do this every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night when the restaurant closes,” he said. “Licensees are under increased scrutiny and have to comply with a raft of rules and regulations; neither publicans nor patrons can afford to do anything wrong.”

Investigators are examining CCTV footage from the Coffs Hotel and have already interviewed some witnesses. Police are urging anyone with information about the incident to contact them on 6652 0299.

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