Out-of-control 18th birthday party costs mum $5000
THINKING of throwing a party?
Well, unless you take steps to ensure things don't get out of hand, it could end up a very expensive event as a Toowoomba woman discovered.
Under legislation introduced in February, those convicted of "organising an out-of-control event" can face maximum penalties of $12,100 or a year in jail.
Less than two months after that legislation came in, Janine Mary Duncan, 45, invited a dozen or so people to her Kearneys Spring home to celebrate her son's 18th birthday on May 10.
However, unknown to her, someone texted others about the party and before she knew it a large crowd had gathered outside her home.
About 8.50pm, three police officers responding to a noise complaint arrived to find 40 to 50 partygoers outside, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard.
The crew called for back-up and further police soon arrived to find an unruly mob out front.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Karen Hall told the court some of the mob turned on police, shouting obscenities.
Police were then subjected to rocks and bottles being hurled at them and police cars sustained damage.
The sergeant in charge had a camera installed in his chest jacket and stood his ground as bottles and rocks were thrown in his direction.
Unfortunately, the camera malfunctioned and potential evidence of those throwing projectiles was lost, Snr Const. Hall said.
When further police arrived, most of the mob jumped fences and ran off, the court heard.
Snr Const. Hall said Ms Duncan had fully co-operated with police and agreed with police she had not been able to control matters.
She admitted to being the event organiser and as such pleaded guilty to the new offence of organising an out-of-control event.
Snr Const. Hall said in total 32 police officers had attended the scene and under the legislation $3879 was sought for costs of the time of those officers.
Defence solicitor Peter Sloane told the court his client was caught by the legislation but she was as surprised as anyone when the crowd turned up.
She had tried to calm things but some of the uninvited guests were drunk and out of control, he said.
Mr Sloane said in the circumstances he couldn't argue the request for police costs.
Snr Const. Hall said police did not seek costs for the damage to the police cars but just the time incurred by police at the scene.
Taking into account all circumstances and because of the costs order, Magistrate Graham Lee said he would reduce the fine to $1000 and ordered Ms Duncan pay police costs of $3879.
Steps for a safe party
- Register your party with police at least two weeks before the event.
- Keep a list of invited guests and tick off their names as they arrive so the real guests are there.
- Have security for bigger parties or, for smaller events, some responsible adults.
- At first sign of any trouble, call police (which was what Ms Duncan should have done).
- Check the full party safe advice at police.qld.gov.au