Two brothers who live in Walcha appeared in Walcha Court to face charges of assault and affray last month.
Co-defendants 28-year-old Karl Schmidt, and his brother 31-year-old Kristian plead not guilty to the charges against them on August 24 and Magistrate Michael Holmes requested a brief of evidence be served and listed the matter to appear in Walcha Court on September 21.
However, the brothers' solicitor Mr Peter Schmidt requested the matter be moved to Armidale Court. Police prosecutor Sergeant Rob Baillie agreed with the request and advised evidence to be submitted contained CCTV footage of the alleged assault at the Walcha Bowling Club on July 21, and Walcha Local Court did not contain the necessary equipment for this to be viewed.
Mr Schmidt also advised his clients wished to seek a variation to their bail conditions. In response, Magistrate Holmes said he hoped Mr Schmidt’s clients knew how lucky they were to be on bail.
Mr Schmidt said he was seeking a variation to the bail condition that his clients do not consume alcohol.
“Karl Schmidt lives at and manages the Commercial Hotel while his older brother Kristian is the licensee,” he explained.
“This condition is setting my clients up to fail.”
I know publicans that don’t drink, and they’re very wealthy people usuallyMagistrate Michael Holmes
Magistrate Holmes replied that he thought the condition not to drink was a sensible one.
“I know publicans that don’t drink, and they’re very wealthy people usually. Does he have to drink?”
Mr Schmidt replied that drinking was part of the trade when you're a publican.
“If you close the pub and want to have a glass of wine with people staying at the hotel you can’t.”
When asked for his opinion by Magistrate Holmes, Mr Baillie said the police felt strongly that the condition should remain in place.
“It is a tricky one, but it appears to be an alcohol-related matter,” he said.
“The defendants indicated at the time of the alleged assault that they had been drinking before the incident.”
When given a chance to expand on his reasons for the application of a variation to the bail condition Mr Schmidt said his clients would undertake to not consume alcohol in the Walcha Bowling Club or any other licensed premises in Walcha.
“But I think the condition is too stringent if they can’t consume alcohol in their own establishment,” he said.
“As I said before it is part and parcel of the trade. You indicated from the bench that a lot of pf publicans don't drink and I take that point, but a lot of publicans do drink. It is part of their job.”
“It is not a condition of your hotel license that you have to drink alcohol,” Magistrate Holmes said.
“The matter is adjourned to November 20, 2018, at Armidale Court and I propose to continue bail in the same format and refuse the application for the variation. They are not to drink alcohol wherever that may be as it goes to the centre of this issue. I understand the difficulties but it is for their, and the communities benefit. On that day the matter will be resolved, and if it is not finished, I will reconsider the bail conditions.”