Friday, May 11, 2007


Below is my submission on Supplementary Order Paper 106 to the Major Events Management Bill. It's been drafted in a bit of a hurry, but it will have to do.

  • I oppose Supplementary Order Paper No 106 to the Major Events Management Bill, and the proposed offence of pitch invasion for the following reasons:
  • The proposed offence is redundant. Police can already prosecute pitch invaders for disorderly behaviour under s4 (1) of the Summary Offences Act 1981, or for disturbing meetings (s37). Those throwing objects onto the playing surface in a manner likely to injure the players can be prosecuted for throwing stones under s34 of the same Act, or for assault.
  • The proposed penalties are excessive. Three months imprisonment is the same as handed out for disorderly behaviour leading to a substantial risk of violence (s3 Summary Offences Act), intimidation (s21), or wilful damage (s11). It is the same as that for discharging a firearm in a public place (s48 Arms Act 1983), or for presenting a firearm or restricted weapon at another person (s52). These are crimes involving actual violence or a serious threat of such to people or property. “Pitch invasion” simply is not on the same level.
  • The rationale for the proposed offence is to protect major events from disruption, and their sponsors from “ambush marketing”. Against the first point, existing law and the ability of event managers to control access to venues already provides sufficient protection; those disrupting events can be prosecuted, convicted, and barred from future events (as happened to streaker Lisa Lewis). Against the second, I do not believe that protecting the right of sponsors to exclusively brand an event justifies the proposed infringement of our civil liberties or the excessive penalties. If sponsors believe their investment in an event has been diluted by such tactics, they should pursue civil penalties, rather than having a special offence created for the purpose.
  • I do not wish to make an oral submission to the Select Committee.