'Foolish prank' turned stag party into fire call

Last updated 05:00 08/01/2013

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It could be a dry wedding for one groom-to-be after a stag party prank landed him in court.

The 28-year-old high-country farmer, facing arson charges after a toilet cubicle was set on fire in a pub during his stag party, was remanded without plea in Queenstown District Court yesterday.

The man, from Shannon, near Dunedin, faces a charge of intentionally damaging property at the Pig and Whistle Pub knowing that danger to life was likely to ensue on January 2.

Judge Kevin Phillips granted the man interim name suppression because it was possible the charge would be reduced.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Ian Collin said as part of the man's stag party he had been handed a costume to wear. Instead of putting it on, the man, who was under the influence of alcohol, set the costume on fire in the pub and threw it at other patrons.

At 6.20pm he went into a toilet, set fire to a toilet roll and left, locking the door behind him.

The fire caused the fire alarm to go off and the building was evacuated.

The Queenstown fire brigade responded but the fire was out before they arrived.

Lawyer Bruce Boivin said the incident had been a "foolish prank".

The pub was smoke damaged, and the man was trying to do what he could to make sure restoration took place before his next court appearance, he said.

The man was remanded on bail until January 28 with conditions not to possess or consume alcohol and not to go to licensed premises.

However, the judge made allowance for the man to attend a family wedding on Friday.

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- The Southland Times

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