Monday, 14 January 2008

Should the 500 teenage party host pay for the $20,000 damage bill?

In the last week-end, a 16-year teenage issued an open invitation on mySpace while his parents were away on holiday. As a result, 500 teenagers turned up. Somehow, the party spiralled out of control causing damages to neighbours and police cars. The Victorian Police Chief wanted to send the damage bill to the teenager (or his parents). [see news here and here]

I am not endorsing this act. However, the notion of punishing the teenage sounds inappropriate.

1. In our society, we don't blame one person because another person behaved badly. The teenager(s) who caused the damage should be billed, not the host. In the case where the police cannot get those involved, that is NOT a reason to send the bill to the host.
2. Before the issue is settled in a court (or after a proper procedure), anyone should be presumed NOT guilty. Some reports suggested that alcohol was served at the party. That's wrong and illegal if the teenagers were under 16. If the teenagers were over 16, but under 18, an adult must be present. Again, any charge of this should be properly served and go through the proper procedure.

Again, I must emphasis that I am NOT saying that teenagers should be allowed to host unsupervised party while parents are away. What I am questioning is whether our Police Chief has stepped over a fine line. What is your opinion? Please leave a comment.

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