A CITY WINE LICENSE.
THE TRANSFER OPPOSED.
The hearing of the application of Donald S. Martin for the transfer of a storekeepers Australian wine licence in respect of premises at Gilbert-street, Adelaide to the Army & Navy Stores, King
William-street, was continued in the Licensing Court on Thursday morning. The bench consisted of Messrs R. G. Nesbit (president). E. J. Thomas (State mem- ber), and H. K. Paine. S.M. (district mem- ber). Mr. R. W. Bennett, with Mr. G. C. Campbell, appeared for the applicant, and Mr. F. Villeneuve Smith, K.C,. with Messrs. F. Kelly and J. F. Astley, for the objectors, Crawford & Company, Michael John Noonan, John Henry Finnagan, and F. B. Keogh, secretary of the Licensed Victuallers' Association. Mr. Smit'i, in opening the case for the objectors, said the application was incom- petent and misconceived. In form it was an application by Mr. D. S. Martin to re- move a license of which he was a trustee to premises occupied by the Army and Navy Stores. The Act clearly described the intention of the legislature that it should apply to a person desirous of re- moving his business to other suitable and convenient premises. The measure was not passed to give opportunity for the traffic in licenses. A license was a fran- chise for a business to be carried on, but
before it could be exercised there must be a business. If a person had no business to remove, there was no power in the court to turn the Act into a pecuniary advantage to the vender. The removal machinery was for the convenience of the person for removing his business to other suitable and convenient premises. There was almost a frank and cynical admission by the applicants that the business was defunct. There was a transfer, not of the business but of the bare and naked license. The court intimated that it wished to hear evidence for the objectors. Mr. Smith said he would call such evidence at the invatition of the court and under protest. Mr. Bennett stated that he was not taken by surprise by Mr. Smith's argument, but the action of the court in inviting him to give evidence called for some considera- tion, as it might unwittingly, involve a sacrifice of certain of his rights. The
court adjourrcd to allow Mr. Bennett to consider his position. On the case being resumed he stated that he had no objec- tion. Hugh John Crawford, a director of Crawford & Co., said the company and its predecessor had held a wine license for between 45 and 50 years. The company in addition held licenses for the sale of ales and spirits. It was not necessary to employ a special staff for the sale of wines and spirits. The staff could cope with a greater volume of Australian wines, prob- ably 50 per cent. more. He had heard no complaint that the public couid not get supplies of various brands of wines from his company. A general stock was carried. He did not stock every brand of Austra- lian wine, as it wonld be neither practic- able nor prudent. There was a fairly de- fined market for particular types of wine, and for types in demand he kept a full and sufficient stock. If a customer de- manded an unfamiliar type the firm would procure it for him. but that rarely hap-
pened. Whenever a demand for a new line came to their notice they immediately stocked it. A fair proportion of trade was done through travellers employed in the country- and suburbs. Thomas S. Thomas, a grocer in the em- ploy of Crawford & Co., also gave evi- dence. Michael J. Noonan, licensee of the Southern Cross Hotel, said the trade in Australian wines is not considerable, and he could cope with a much larger trade than he now enjoyed. He stocked at least 50 brands of Australian wine. Ho bottled two varieties of port wine himself. He did not think the granting of the license would affect his business. Arthur John Lee, licensee of the Napo- leon Hotel, said he had between 30 and 40 types of Australian wine in stock. There was not a particularly great demand for such wines. He had never heard of com- plaints with regard to the supply of Aus- tralian wines to the public He did not consider the granting of the licence would affect his business. The hearing was adjourned.