Payout sure to dampen bar's spirits

WHAT to do with the drunken sailor was the poser faced by a District Court judge yesterday after a 21st birthday party at Lan Kwai Fong bar Scotties got out of hand.

Professional yachtsman Mr Owen Stevens, now 24, ended up having a cold shower after pulling down a fire sprinkler pipe during celebrations on February 8, 1990.

Water flooded the premises, causing extensive damage to audio equipment and furniture, claimed Scotties Bar and Restaurant Ltd, which sued Mr Stevens for damages.

After a two-day hearing, Judge Downey ruled that Mr Stevens had been negligent, but said Scotties were also partly to blame since the sprinkler pipe was not firmly secured to the ceiling.

Mr Albert Yau, counsel for Scotties, said its $120,000 claim was based on the cost of emergency flood control, repairing the sprinkler system, cleaning carpets, replacing wooden flooring and income lost during the repair period.

But Judge Downey awarded the bar's owners $18,807.10 plus interest.

Mr Stevens, a ship broker at the time of the incident who was not represented in court, said Scotties could have controlled the damage if they had shut off the sprinkler system immediately it broke.