$1000 fine for giving booze to boy, 9
A 9-year-old Hamilton boy who got drunk on alcohol supplied by adults in a skate park could have died, a Judge says.
Judge David Ruth has fined two adults over the incident in January that made national headlines after video of the drunk boy was posted on YouTube.
The video showed the boy slurring his words then slumping against a wall with a can of bourbon and Cola in his hand.
In the Hamilton District Court this morning Judge Ruth found Lucy Teari Winnie Snowden, also known as Franklin, 25, guilty on one charge of supplying alcohol to a minor after a judge-alone trial.
He convicted her and fined her $1000.
Yesterday Kali Tiloi, 20, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was fined $750. A charge against Michael King, 27, was dismissed.
The court was told the boy went to the Fairfield skate park in Hamilton alone on his ninth birthday and met a 12-year-old friend.
He saw Tiloi, Snowden and King drinking cans of bourbon and coke, which had an alcohol content of 7 per cent, and asked them for a can which he began drinking. He was also later given shots of other pre-mixed drinks with a 20 per cent alcohol content.
The 12 year old girl told police in an interview played to the court: "It got to the stage where [the boy] started barking, where [the boy] started to follow what Mike King, and Kali were doing. And Mike and Kali were yelling 'sieg f****** heil'."
After a while she told the boy to stop drinking but he claimed his mother allowed him to drink and he wanted to get wasted.
"I tipped out [his] alcohol because he had spilt it all over himself while Mike and that were giving him a cigarette," she said.
The girl told the court Hamilton man Bradley Goudie, who came across the boy and filmed the incident, told him to stop drinking but she said the boy replied: "I'm allowed to drink, I'm 9 years old, bro."
The boy, who also gave evidence via video, told the court: "Kali gave me alcohol. Kali and Lucy, and they were Cody's. "They said here, here's a can of Cody's. It was half a can ... I was drunk and I skated to the shop and crashed into a pole and fell off my scooter."
Judge Ruth said today that the effect of the alcohol on the boy could have been fatal.
"He could have died that day from alcohol poisoning. I don't pluck that out of the air," he said.
"The sort of alcohol you were giving him really had the potential and I'm satisfied as to the way he later presented to his mother and others that indeed this was a serious matter."
Judge Ruth said a significant factor in his decision was evidence that Snowden told police the boy had been given a box of Cody's bourbon and Cola by his mother so there was no need for her to supply him with alcohol.
He was also unimpressed that Snowden tried to fob the blame on to the girl who was with the boy.
"You then came up with this highly unlikely and, in fact, untrue story to the police officer that his mother had given him a box of alcohol and that is just beyond belief," he said.
Judge Ruth told Snowden she had let the boy down and it must have been blatantly obvious he was a young child.
"I don't know what effect it will have upon him or whether he will go on to suffer alcohol addiction," he said.
"I also don't know whether [a witness] telling me this was some sort of gang initiation is accurate or not. If it is you should be even more ashamed."
He repeated his dismay at the boy being allowed to roam the skate park by himself.
"Why this boy, aged nine, on his birthday was alone at a skate park without adult supervision just beggars belief," the judge said.
"So you were only one of the persons who let him down on that day and you let him down badly."
He also accepted the combined effect of evidence from the boy and the 12-year-old, especially as the girl was the only sober one in the group.
"I am satisfied beyond any doubt that Lucy Snowden did give [the boy] alcohol - certainly more than one can of Cody's - and at least one shot."
Snowden refused to comment to media outside court.