Drunk boy sparks CYF investigations
MATT BOWEN, JENNA LYNCH AND JONATHAN CARSON
Child Youth and Family (CYF) says it is supporting the family of a 9-year-old boy caught on camera drunk at a Hamilton skate park.
Bradley Goudie, 18, posted the video showing the boy at Fairfield Skate Park on Tuesday afternoon with a can of bourbon and cola, which contains 7 per cent alcohol.
In the video, the boy, who struggles to stand and slurs his speech, says "I've been drunk before". He also says he was given alcohol by his aunt.
"The video is shocking and we are as appalled as everyone else," CYF general manager Nova Salomen said.
CYF had worked with police while they investigated the matter and its focus was now to support the family through what has been a difficult time for them, Salomen said.
"Giving children alcohol or any other drug is illegal, irresponsible and highly dangerous. This boy was in a vulnerable state when he was filmed and the footage has been shared publicly.
"We won't be compounding the situation by releasing any more information about this boy or his family."
The original video of the boy has been removed from the internet after a complaint by police. However, the footage has been copied and published on dozens of other websites.
Goudie said he believed Google had removed the video for violating its terms of service.
"I didn't remove the video but I have no problem with it being removed," Goudie said.
He posted the video "for the greater good" and felt that it had served its purpose by sparking a public discussion about the issue of children and alcohol, he said.
"My overall intention was to alert the country to this issue and it's done that so I believe my part in this is done."
Goudie was interviewed by police today as part of the ongoing investigation into the incident.
POLICE DEFEND ACTION
Earlier, police rejected claims they failed to act fast enough and honour a request from Goudie for a follow-up call after the incident.
Goudie said he was so shocked by the apparent drunkenness of the boy that he turned his camera on him.
When he had stopped filming, he immediately rang the police.
"We indicated to them that it was serious, that there was an 8-year-old boy drunk at the skate park, no safety gear, no nothing," he said, adding police told him they would investigate and call him back with an outcome.
However, Waikato police spokesman Andrew McAlley said there was no mention of a call back in the discussion with Goudie.
He said an officer was at the park 10 minutes after receiving the call and the boy was found at his home nearby soon afterward.
Goudie said heard nothing back from police.
"I would sort of expect a more urgent response because a child's life was in danger," he said.
"That's when we decided to put the video [online]."
Goudie said he would not have released the video if police had acted hard and fast, and communicated that to him.
McAlley said it was not police practice to make return calls after receiving an emergency call unless it was specifically requested or was in relation to welfare matters.
Police also went to three different houses on Tuesday night looking for people in relation to the incident. The first calls relating to Goudie's YouTube video came in at 1.20pm on Wednesday.
Inspector Greg Nicholls said Goudie had further victimised the boy by posting the footage online.
"While police are grateful the cameraman rang 111, we feel the boy's interests would have been better served had he provided the footage to police or CYFS, rather than further victimise the child by publishing the footage," he said.
Nicholls said police had contacted YouTube parent company Google to remove the footage but also made a plea with Goudie that he take it down himself.
"Early investigations suggest there is no culpability on his part . . . morally I plead with him to do the right thing," he said.
But Goudie said he thought the issue needed exposure, and he meant no harm in posting it.
"It's hard to say really. What do you do?" he said.
"Do you take it down and hide the issue or do you leave it there so that more people see it and more people think about it?
"My intention was for someone in NZ to see it and do something beyond my power."
CALL TO TAKE ACTION
The video has been described as "shocking and appalling" by a top alcohol and drug counsellor.
Alcohol and Drug Assessment and Counselling clinical manager Roger Brooking said authorities needed to take action over the incident.
"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," Brooking said.
He said whoever gave the boy alcohol should face criminal charges.
Nicholls said police were still investigating who was responsible for supplying the liquor. A brother and aunt mentioned in the video were not related to the boy.
In the video, the boy brags he has consumed 18 cans of the premixed bourbon and cola, however Nicholls said it was eight cans, along with two shots of liqueur.
"However many he drank is far too many . . . one is too many," Nicholls said.
"The young boy was very ill (on Tuesday) night, so much so that calling an ambulance was considered."
Under new liquor laws, the person who provided the alcohol can face a maximum fine of $2000.
Child Matters founder Anthea Simcock said a crime had been committed and appropriate action should be taken.
The boy had been returned to his mother, who police said was "extremely distraught" to find her son in such a state.
But the boy's father said he wanted his son to live with him.
The man said he had been going through 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 yesterday. "What I want to do is get my kids and pick them up," he said.
It was the boy's birthday on Tuesday.
"I was just shocked," the father said.
"Why wasn't the boy at home on his birthday with his family? It's got to be stopped, this kind of stuff."
He said he had contacted CYF and a lawyer to help him.
- Waikato Times
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