The partying Wakatipu teens who vandalised a luxury Crown
Range property will not face charges - instead, they're on
New Year's Eve clean-up duty as punishment.
The 14 Wakatipu High School senior pupils, many of them
school leavers, trashed the yard of a Crown Range property
during an end-of-exam party on November 22.
Sergeant Steve Watt, of Queenstown, said security camera
footage showed the group ''gallivanting in the spa and
surrounding garden area and drinking copious amounts of
alcohol, smashing bottles and urinating through the yard and
The youths, who had been partying next door, could have faced
penalties of a $2000 fine or three months' imprisonment for
being unlawfully on property.
However, Sergeant Watt said they would not face charges
because the Singaporean property owner, while devastated at
the damage to his holiday retreat, was keen the youngsters
undergo some form of restorative justice instead.
''Obviously, he's got plenty of money, so he wasn't worried
about reparation which he would've got through the diversion
process. He's been graceful enough to allow the kids to do
some alternative action.
''He was keen for them to do something to help the community
and sort of show them, I suppose, the ills of drinking, and
that seemed like a perfect solution which we've been able to
Sgt Watt said he had liaised with the Queenstown Lakes
District Council and organised for the teenage culprits to
meet him at 5am downtown on New Year's Day.
''We've been designated some areas that my merry bunch of men
and women will tidy up to aid the council.''
Wakatipu High principal Steve Hall, who was ''absolutely
gutted'' when he heard about his pupils' drunken antics,
calls their punishment ''a good community solution''.
- Philip Chandler.