Stadium unimpressed by streaker's soft sentence

By Heather McCracken, Greymouth Star staff -
File photo Photo / APN
File photo Photo / APN

A soft sentence for a man who streaked at a Warriors game has not impressed bosses at Wellington's Westpac Stadium.

Ephraim James McIntyre, 24, of Cobden, was charged with offensive behaviour and obscene behaviour after streaking at the Warriors v Bulldogs clash at the Cake Tin earlier this year.

But a Greymouth District Court judge directed police to withdraw the obscenity charge after McIntyre's lawyer argued the stunt was "just a lark", and the 28,000-strong crowd were amused.

Westpac Stadium chief executive David Gray said that was a very different approach from the stadium's policy on streakers.

"We have a zero tolerance policy. We see it as a serious threat to players on the field."

Mr Gray said streakers were banned from the stadium for two years, and he would "absolutely" like to see the courts take a similarly tough approach.

"We've had serious incidents in the past and we'll continue to treat it the same way," he said.

"The moment they start to get encouraged as part of the entertainment it'll get worse."

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said they wanted all patrons to enjoy the events, have fun, and enter into good spirited banter and behaviour - but to always respect and not offend other patrons.

"Also there are issues of safety and security regarding members of the public running onto the field, unless it was fully organised as part the event, so we in no way would want people to feel they should be entitled to do this - naked or dressed."

McIntyre had advertised his stunt on Facebook, promising to streak if he got 10,000 messages of support, and in total got 30,000 'likes'.

At court on Tuesday his lawyer Vicki Walsh she didn't find the act obscene.

"Having an indecency conviction on his record for this conjures up all sorts of far more sinister conclusions than it warrants. It was a lark, nothing more."

Judge Paul Kellar agreed and directed police to withdraw the obscene behaviour charge.

He was fined $150, with Judge Kellar noting the incident was premeditated and advertised.

Streakers in court:

- A 20-year-old student who streaked at the Wingatui Racecourse, Otago, in November was discharged without conviction but ordered to pay a $1500 donation to the Injured Jockey Trust.

- A teenager who tried to run onto a field wearing just an Irish flag during a Rugby World Cup game in Rotorua in 2011 was later discharged without conviction.

- A woman who ran onto the track and pulled up her dress during the New Zealand Trotting Cup at Addington Raceway in 2011 was charged with disorderly behaviour, but was granted diversion, avoiding a conviction.

- A 19-year-old man tackled a player after stripping to his underwear and running onto the field at Westpac Stadium during the Wellington Sevens in 2012. He was charged with assault.

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