Fireworks and bottles figure in Castle St disorder

Fireworks narrowly missed a Campus Watch staff member and bottles were thrown at firefighters dousing couch fires, as police made nine arrests in Dunedin's student quarter on Tuesday night.

The incidents in the student party area of Castle St came after an incident-free toga party at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Sergeant Chris McLellan said yesterday.

Residents of two addresses have been referred to the proctor after setting off multishot fireworks at their properties, he said.

"Unfortunately, a group of people thought it was a great idea to pick the fireworks up and shoot them at people.

Several students fired the fireworks into the crowd, narrowly missing a Campus Watch employee, he said.

The perpetrators were identified, arrested and charged with disorderly behaviour, he said.

"You are talking about intoxication, you are talking about stupidity and danger. When the fireworks were produced, it bought an element of risk to all the people who were having a social time."

A "reasonable supply of fireworks" was also seized, he said.

The events followed a busy night in Castle St on Monday, which culminated in eight arrests, and hundreds of drunken party-goers being moved off the street by police.

The Fire Service was first called to the area on Tuesday at 10.26pm, and four more times before midnight.

After their arrival, bottles were thrown, Sgt McLellan said.

Willowbank station officer Mark Leonard said he was hit in the hand by a bottle thrown from the crowd but was not injured.

Of the 18 arrests made in the city on Tuesday night, nine were from the student area and eight of those arrested listed their occupation as student.

It was important to put into perspective that the majority of students were well behaved and enjoying their Orientation, but "there is a small element there ruining it", Sgt McLellan said.

He praised the organisation behind the toga party by the Otago University Students Association.

Vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said any behaviour that threatened the safety of people or property was considered unacceptable by the university.

"The actions the university will take very much depends on the offences the students have committed, and the process of natural justice that occurs.

"If the university finds that students have broken discipline regulations in respect to these cases, then the Code of Student Conduct will be applied swiftly and decisively."

hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

 

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