'Drunk' child prompts police move
Police are investigating what they are say is an appalling incident of a young boy getting drunk in Hamilton.
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Footage appeared online yesterday showing a young man confronting a group of children at the Fairfield Skate Park.
The man asks a boy how old he is and what he has been drinking.
The boy, stumbling, says he is nine and has had 18 Cody's - a pre-mixed bourbon drink - through the day.
Speaking to media this afternoon, Inspector Greg Nicholls said when officers visited the boy last night he was "grossly intoxicated".
"The young boy was very ill... so much so that calling an ambulance was considered."
The boy's mother had been in contact with police today and was said to be "extremely distraught".
Police were still investigating who was responsible for supplying the liquor, Nicholls said. A brother and aunt mentioned in the video were not related to the boy.
In the video, the boy struggles to stand up while his friends laugh in the background.
The man goes on to question who supplied the alcohol and who his caregiver is.
The boy says ''I've got drunk before'' and he was given alcohol by his aunt. A girl he is with says ''he's allowed'' to drink alcohol.
Bradley Goudie, a professional scooter rider, said he filmed the incident on Tuesday afternoon.
''I was quite concerned because obviously I know that alcohol can be quite damaging to such young children,'' he said.
''I just wanted to figure out who was responsible for it and expose that issue, I guess.''
He said the boy's balance was ''way off'' and he looked sick.
Nicholls said while he appreciated the actions of Goudie, he felt that posting the video had further victimised a vulnerable young boy. But police were unlikely to take any action against him.
"Early investigations suggest there is no culpability on his part. Morally, I plead with him to do the right thing and take it down."
Police were trying to have the clip removed from the internet. It has been viewed close to 1000 times since being uploaded yesterday.
The boy’s father, who Fairfax Media has chosen not to name, said he had been in a custody battle with his former partner and hadn’t seen the boy in six months.
He said it was "heart wrenching" to see the video of his son online today.
"What I want to do is get my kids and pick them up."
It was the boy’s birthday yesterday, he said.
"I was just shocked. Why wasn’t the boy at home on his birthday with his family?" he said.
"It’s got to be stopped, this kind of stuff."
He said he had contacted Child Youth and Family and a lawyer to help him.
He had never known his son to get drunk before.
"He used to joke about having a sip and all that but I’ve never seen him have a beer."
Nicholls said police attended the Fairfield Park Skate-bowl on Clarkin Rd about 6pm yesterday after calls to the 111 call centre.
They found the boy at his home nearby with his mother.
"The mother, who with her son met with me this afternoon, told the attending officer she thought the boy was across the road playing and she wasn't aware he was elsewhere, being put at risk by persons providing him alcohol."
Nicholls said the only way he could describe the behaviour of the persons who supplied the child with alcohol was to state it was appalling.
"The boy told me he had consumed eight cans of 7% premix bourbon and cola and two liqueur shots.
"Not only is giving a child alcohol illegal it has the potential to be significantly harmful to his health.
"The people concerned should be aware that the new alcohol legislation introduced late last year gives the police a raft of sanctions from issuing a warning through to an infringement notice and taking court action."
Nicholls said police were working with Child Youth and Family to provide appropriate care for the boy and support for his family.
Alcohol and Drug Assessment and Counselling clinical manager Roger Brooking said authorities needed to take action over the incident.
"It’s shocking and appalling,’’ he said.
"The police should be called and that kid should be taken off his parents or whoever’s looking after him and be placed in the care of social welfare."
He said whoever gave the boy alcohol should face criminal charges.
Child Matters founder Anthea Simcock said a crime had been committed and appropriate action should be taken.