Undie 500 convictions please police

Alastair DickieAs the court system finishes with last year's offenders, a new group of participants is understood to be gearing up to head south for the annual rally formerly known as the Undie 500.

It is believed the last of about 57 people, all men, who faced charges after last year's Undie 500 disorder, was finally dealt with in the Dunedin District Court last week.

Of the 57 charged, more than 20 were dealt with in courts outside Dunedin.

At the Dunedin District Court, 22 people were convicted (nine of those on two charges), five were diverted, two were discharged without conviction, one had his charge dismissed and one had charges against him withdrawn. One man who appealed his conviction on a disorderly likely to cause violence charge in the High Court had his appeal dismissed and the conviction upheld.

Of the 16 people initially charged with rioting, 15 received at least one conviction on lesser charges, mostly disorderly behaviour and obstructing police, and one was discharged without conviction.

The 31 people who faced court in Dunedin were ordered to pay more than $16,500 in reparations, fines, donations and court costs.

Two people were penalised with 100 hours' and 150 hours' community work respectively.

Dunedin lawyers said court-imposed penalties were not the only costs those charged had to bear.

Some returned to court up to eight times for their clients, which could have incurred lawyers' fees of about $1000 at the lower end, up to $5000 if a client had multiple appearances.

Inspector Alastair Dickie, the officer in charge of the police response to the Undie 500 disorder last year, was pleased there had been more convictions than discharges.

Penalties for some individuals of up to $2000, including reparations, fines and court costs, should act as a deterrent to others considering the same sort of behaviour at any event this year, he said.

Despite both the official Undie 500 rally this year and an official replacement event, Trek 08, being cancelled, Dunedin police were still prepared for any eventuality, he said.

This month it was reported some students still planned to drive to Dunedin.

Police understood there was a rugby match involving the Canterbury University Engineering Students Association (Ensoc, the traditional organisers of the Undie 500) in Dunedin on the weekend of August 23, and expected people would travel south for that.

Police would prepare for the arrival of rallygoers, including the deployment of staff from the Canterbury region to Dunedin for the weekend, Insp Dickie said.

 

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