Earlier closing times on agenda

Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham has renewed her call for licensed venues in Byron Bay to close earlier in an effort to curb alcohol-fuelled violence.

The call comes after Crown prosecutor Julia Baly said that Byron Bay was an ugly and dangerous place after nightclubs closed.

Ms Baly said the Byron Bay community had now had enough, with police and medical services stretched to the limit as a result of ongoing alcohol-fuelled violence.

“The violence must be condemned in the strongest terms,” she said.

Ms Baly was speaking during the trial of 21-year-old Samuel Buultjens, of Newrybar, who last week received an 18-month good behaviour bond for his role in the death of Irish traveller Colm Kenny at Byron Bay nearly two years ago in an assault fuelled by alcohol.

Cr Barham said she had written to the Minister for Police asking for advice on how the council and the community could trial earlier closing times for nightclubs and hotels.

“It’s been shown that violence and crime is reduced when entertainment venues close earlier,” she said.

“The community has had enough and I call on every responsible business owner in this town to come on board and look at what we can do.

“I am asking for their support for earlier closing times.”

Cr Barham said she had the support of the local police.

The senior police officer investigating the death of Mr Kenny, Detective Gary Sheehan, said young people lost sight of their behaviour boundaries and respect for others when partying at Byron Bay.

“It has got to the stage where alcohol affects their ability to make decisions about their safety, and the repercussions their drunken behaviour can have on the safety of others,” he said.

 Byron United president Ed Ahern said the business group was working hard to promote the well-being of Byron Bay.

 “Byron Bay is a beautiful town, but it was a tragedy that the Irishman died as a result of alcohol-fuelled violence,” he said.

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