No decision on diversion for student yet, police say

Police have not ruled out diversion for the 19-year-old student who drunkenly attacked a St John vehicle in Dunedin.

The man shoulder-charged a St John rapid response unit in Albany St on Saturday afternoon following the Hyde St keg party.

When asked if the student would be dealt with by diversion, a police spokesman said: ''No decision has been made in regards to diversion in this case as the male has yet to appear in court.''

The man is due to appear in the Dunedin District Court on Friday.

''An offender's suitability for diversion is assessed before the hearing, but any decision of granting diversion is not made until after the case has been adjourned by the court at the time of the hearing,'' the police spokesman said.

''Diversion is considered on a case-by-case basis for all offenders who are eligible, no matter who you are or what you do.

''The gravity of the offence is weighed up against the eligibility requirements before any decision on diversion can or is made during the court process.''

On Monday, St John's South Island head told the Otago Daily Times he was opposed to diversion for those who attacked St John property and staff.

''While we remain committed to helping people in need in the community, we will not support diversion for attacks against our staff or equipment. So be very aware of the consequences of your action at all times,'' St John South Island region general manager David Thomas wrote in an open letter to Otago's students, sent to the ODT.

A female paramedic, who was driving the vehicle, was left shaken and covered in glass after the unit was attacked.

Yesterday, Mr Thomas said: ''St John has made its disappointment about what happened very clear.

''We are happy to discuss and work with the police as this works through the court system.''

The 19-year-old was charged with wilful damage.

Twelve others were arrested at the event on charges including assaulting security staff, fighting, disorder and offensive behaviour.

Police did not say how many of those, if any, were being assessed for diversion.



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