Rockingham ratepayers will have to foot legal costs incurred by the nightclub Zelda's after the Liquor Commission ruled the council had launched vexatious proceedings against the venue in its three-year fight to impose restrictions on the venue.
In a decision this week, Liquor Commission deputy chairman Seamus Rafferty found three interlocutory applications filed by the City of Rockingham were unarguable and an appeal was a "desperate attempt" to bolster a complaint after it realised its case lacked evidence.
But Mr Rafferty refused an application by Tocoan Pty Ltd, the licensee of Zelda's, for costs in relation to two initial complaints seeking action to close or have restrictions on the venue after finding that though the evidence against the premises was lacking, he was not satisfied the proceedings were vexatious.
In the complaints, the council alleged Zelda's had fallen into disrepair and was linked to antisocial behaviour. Both complaints were dismissed for lack of evidence.
Zelda's owner Kevin Mann said he had evidence the proceedings had cost the council more than $200,000.The council stood by its decision to lodge the applications.