13 May 2024

Mama Hooch: New complaints laid over 'historical incidents' at notorious bar

2:25 pm on 13 May 2024
The Jaz family ran Mama Hooch, pictured, and nearby Venuti on Colombo St. Mama Hooch’s premises has since been taken over by new owners and given a new name.

Photo: David Walker / Stuff

Police are investigating fresh complaints in connection to "historical incidents" at the notorious central Christchurch bar Mama Hooch.

Brothers Danny and Roberto Jaz were sentenced last August to lengthy jail terms after they were found guilty of nearly 70 crimes, including rape, sexual violation and stupefying.

The pair used their positions at family businesses, including Mama Hooch and neighbouring Colombo Street restaurant Venuiti, to commit the slew of acts.

Both venues have since closed, and the company Jaz Holdings Limited was put into liquidation in early August.

A police spokesperson said since the Operation Sinatra trial last year, they had received three complaints relating to historical incidents at Mama Hooch.

"Police won't comment on the specifics of the complaints but they are continuing to investigate."

Both brothers have appealed their convictions.

One survivor of the case said there could be more women yet to come forward.

Sophie Brown said she was unsurprised new allegations had surfaced.

It was great to see complainants find the strength to come forward, as only a fraction of sexual assault cases get reported to police, she said.

Victims advocate Ruth Money said cases like this, which resurface when new allegations are made, can be a catch-22 for survivors.

"The trial itself was very triggering for a number of people particularly, of course, those ones who were the survivors who had disclosed at that time, but also these new ones who hadn't disclosed yet.

"But what it says is that you're not alone."

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