Streaker Warren Fitzgerald sidesteps conviction after his antics at All Blacks test in Dunedin

Warren Blair Fitzgerald ran out onto the field during the All Blacks clash against the Sprinboks at AMI stadium in Christchurch. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Warren Blair Fitzgerald ran out onto the field during the All Blacks clash against the Sprinboks at AMI stadium in Christchurch. Photo / Brett Phibbs

A Dunedin man who dodged security while streaking at an All Blacks game is also set to sidestep a conviction for the nude run.

Warren Blair Fitzgerald appeared in the Dunedin District Court this morning having admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour last month.

The 30-year-old was originally charged with going onto the playing surface at a major sporting event, but the All Blacks clash against the Springboks at AMI stadium in Christchurch on September 17 this year did not meet the criteria of a major event, the court heard.

Today he was granted a conditional discharge without conviction by Judge Michael Turner, "by the narrowest of margins".

The judge said Fitzgerald would receive no blemish on his criminal record if he completed 100 hours of voluntary work and took part in an alcohol and drug course by March next year.

Warren Blair Fitzgerald in Dunedin District Court. Photo / Otago Daily Times
Warren Blair Fitzgerald in Dunedin District Court. Photo / Otago Daily Times

With the All Blacks cruising to victory and only four minutes left to play, Fitzgerald, seated in the west stand, "decided to disrobe" and jumped over the barrier.

He made it past stewards on to the pitch, through the in-goal area and "attempted to mount the goal post", the court heard.

Fitzgerald's daring dash only ended when he was tackled by security guards.

"He interrupted an international event watched of millions of people worldwide. He did that for his own gratification because he was drunk," the judge said.

The referee was forced to stop the game for a minute.

When spoken to by police, Fitzgerald said the streak was "just for laughs" - a comment that did not impress Judge Turner.

"You're plainly an intelligent man wishing to complete a doctorate but your behaviour is more akin to that of somebody much younger and more immature," he said.

"This is happening all the time now. They think it's OK to take their clothes off."

Defence counsel Marie Taylor-Cyphers said a conviction would hamper her client's ability to get funding for his PhD and would severely limit his future career options.

Fitzgerald also planned to go to Canada, which might be impossible with a black mark on his record, she said.

The defendant had a clean criminal record but had previously received diversion over an assault, the court heard.

In 2007, he was asked to leave a bar and bit a security guard.

"This man has an alcohol problem," Judge Turner said.

Taylor-Cyphers argued against a photo of her client being taken in court, but Judge Turner granted the Otago Daily Times' application.

"He was happy to be filmed and watched by millions around the world. Why would he object to a still photo being taken today?" he said.

Fitzgerald will be granted a discharge without conviction on March 23 if he meets the conditions set by the judge.

According to the University of Otago website, Fitzgerald is an assistant research fellow at the Centre for Sustainability.

His profile says he "has a strong passion towards energy and environmental sustainability and . . . is now combining his energy based studies, with his agricultural roots, in a scoping project aiming to highlight areas of interest in the energy use of New Zealand's agriculture sector".

- Otago Daily Times

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