Otago Uni graduation threats: Accused keeps name secret

Thousands of graduands at Otago University and Olago Polytechnic were affected after ceremonies...
Thousands of graduands at Otago University and Olago Polytechnic were affected after ceremonies were postponed at short notice in December. Photo: Gerard O'Brien/ODT
The identity of a woman accused of threatening to commit a firearms and explosive attack targeting University of Otago graduation ceremonies remains a secret for now.

The defendant has entered no plea, deemed not guilty, to a charge of making threats of harm to people or property.

The 22-year-old appeared at Auckland District Court today.

Judge Ryan has granted her interim name suppression until trial or an earlier resolution.

A Crown case review hearing date has been set for July 14.

Police claim her threat, made electronically to the university, was of a “magnitude surpassing the March 15 Christchurch mosque massacres” and would impose “significant disruption” to the ceremonies.

Otago Polytechnic and University of Otago ceremonies scheduled for December 9 last year were called off, affecting thousands of graduands.

The woman has since been ordered to surrender her passport and stay at her parents’ home at all times unless attending a medical appointment.

The threatened attack would have been “likely to cause major economic loss to those involved in and those who derive income from such ceremonies and create a risk to the health of the civilian population of New Zealand”, police said.

The accused is facing a maximum penalty of seven years in jail.

At the time of her arrest, Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said: “I am relieved there has been an arrest in relation to the security threat.

“I am extremely disappointed that these actions resulted in graduation ceremonies for more than 2500 graduands and their whānau being postponed.”

 

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