Hunter pubs top most violent list

DESPITE the Hunter having the most stringent alcohol and hotel licensing restrictions in NSW, two Newcastle hotels have topped the state's list of most violent venues.

While reported cases of hotel violence generally fell throughout the state in 2011, MJ Finnegans and Fanny's of Newcastle emerge as the worst offenders in new figures expected to be released this morning.

The two city venues are expected to be slapped with tighter trading restrictions when Minister for Hospitality George Souris formally reveals the NSW Violent Venues List this morning.

The list shows that 31 violent incidents occurred at MJ Finnegans in 2011, with 30 incidents occurring at Fanny's. They compare unfavourably to Sydney's notoriously violent pubs The Mean Fiddler at Rouse Hill (18), Coogee Bay Hotel (23) and Ivy nightclub (21).

The figures have further outraged those who have campaigned for even tighter trading restrictions in Newcastle and further dented a recent push for smaller licensed wine bars in the city area.

Campaigner and Newcastle resident Tony Brown seized on the new figures, saying the city's residents, businesses and frontline emergency services personnel should be "justifiably outraged".

He said his coalition of supporters would this morning move to have the Independent Liquor Authority reopen a legal challenge aimed at further reducing hotel trading hours in the city.

"The number of reported violent incidents in Newcastle CBD has more than doubled over the past three years from 49 to 102 by the end of 2011," Mr Brown said.

"The outcome plainly repudiates Minister Souris's gloating about the success of the government's three strikes laws - not one of the repeat offending Newcastle pubs have been issued with a strike."

Mr Souris would not comment further on the figures last night, instead saying that a statewide drop in the number of assaults at licensed premises was proof that the government's policy was working.

Newcastle's King Street Hotel, the Cambridge Hotel at Newcastle West and the city's Queen's Wharf Brewery Hotel also made the list, recording 16, 14 and 12 violent incidents respectively.

Maitland's Belmore Hotel dropped off the most recent list after recording a significant drop in violent incidents over the past year.

Representatives of Mj Finnegans and Fanny's were unable to be contacted last night.

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