Appeal from order of Superior Court, Oct. T., 1969, No. 467, affirming order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Jan. T., 1968, No. 1785, in case of 4-6 Club v. Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Leo H. Loffel, for appellant.
Thomas J. Shannon, Assistant Attorney General, with him Fred Speaker, Attorney General, for appellee.
Bell, C. J., Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien, Roberts and Pomeroy, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice O'Brien. Mr. Justice Eagen dissents. Mr. Justice Cohen took no part in the decision of this case.
On December 28, 1967, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board entered a revocation order against the licensee-appellant. On appeal, the Court of Quarter
Sessions of Philadelphia County sustained the Board's findings but remanded the matter to the Board for reconsideration of the penalty, since the Board had considered two previous revocations in setting the penalty, which previous revocations had subsequently been vacated and reduced to suspension by the Court of Quarter Sessions. The Board, pursuant to the remand order, once again fixed the penalty at revocation and the Court affirmed. A divided Superior Court affirmed, 4-6 Club Liquor License Case, 215 Pa. Superior Ct. 520, 258 A.2d 532 (1969), and we granted allocatur.
The principal question involved is the proper interpretation of § 471 of the Liquor Code, 47 P.S. 4-471. That section provides: "Upon learning of any violation of this act . . . the board may, within one year from the date of such violation . . . cite such licensee to appear before it or its examiner. . . . No penalty provided by this section shall be imposed . . . for any violations . . . unless the enforcement officer or the board notifies the licensee of its nature and of the date of the alleged violation within ten days of the completion of the investigation which in no event shall exceed ninety days."
The record discloses that detectives attached to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office were conducting an investigation of the licensee. On September 17, 18, 24, 25, November 26, 27, 1966, March 21, April 1 and 2, 1967, they, nonmembers, were served drinks on the licensed premises. On May 12, 1967, they so notified the enforcement agents of the Board. The Board commenced and completed an investigation on July 12, 1967, and on July 14, 1967, notified the licensee of the nature and dates of the alleged violations. A citation was issued on August 2, 1967, and, after hearing, the license was revoked and the bond forfeited.
The language of the act indicates that the investigation must be completed within ninety days and notice
given to the licensee within ten days of the completion of the investigation. In addition, a citation must issue within one year of the date of the violation. From the dates indicated ...