QCAT rules tattoo parlour to be stripped of licence

THE sexual assault of a girl more than 10 years ago has stopped two Rockhampton tattoo parlour owners having their licence re-instated.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal backed Queensland Police and the Department of Fair Trading's decision to reject Bernie and Veronica Bartley's licence to operate Gallery Ink.

In July last year, Mr and Mrs Bartley became the first parlour owners to fall victim to the state's tough new licensing crackdown.

At the time the couple intimated they lost the licence because of Mr Bartley's links with the Rebels motorcycle gang.

However, the QCAT decision does not address this link.

Instead it focuses on fact that Mr Bartley was convicted of the sexual assault of a minor.

In delivering their decision, QCAT members Kerrie O'Callaghan and Paul Favell said the government was justified in finding Mr Bartley was not a "fit and proper" person to hold a tattoo parlour licence.

QCAT heard Mr Bartley, who has been a tattooist for more than 30 years, pleaded guilty to the indecent assault of a 16-year-old female client who came to him for a tattoo on her left hip in 2005.

The assault happened during a discussion of genital piercings.

"After she told him to stop (assaulting her) and had pulled her underwear up, Mr Bartley told her 'let's keep this our secret'," the QCAT decision released on December 11, reads.

Mr Bartley told the tribunal he had never assaulted the young woman and only pleaded guilty because he could not afford a lawyer.

"The circumstances surrounding the criminal conviction of sexual assault on a 16-year-old whilst receiving a tattoo from Mr Bartley even though it is 10 years old weighs in favour of a finding that Mr Bartley is not a fit and proper person," Ms O'Callaghan and Mr Favell wrote.

They rejected Mrs Bartley's application because of her relationship with her husband.

They have 14 days to appeal the decision.


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