Almost a dozen Field Day 2016 ticket-holders have been given criminal records for drug possession after court hearings in Sydney, including first-time offenders who were in possession of less than five pills or capsules.
As Fairfax Media reports, Magistrate John Favretto decided to issue criminal records to 11 people who were arrested at the Sydney festival in The Domain on New Year’s Day.
At Sydney’s Downing Centre Court, Magistrate Favretto rejected first-time offenders pleas for leniency. “These offences are too serious as people keep dying. It’s got to stop,” he said as he convicted and fined 20-year-old Cameron Dwyer, who was found with four pills inside a condom in his underpants at Field Day.
A 23-year-old commerce graduate asked Magistrate Favretto not to convict him because it would damage his career prospects and jeopardise an already planned trip to Asia, but Mr Favretto said those reasons were “insufficient” before convicting the graduate and fining him for possessing two blue and white capsules at Field Day.
30-year-old Daniel Robson, who in a letter supplied to the court said he was “genuinely and deeply sorry” for possessing seven-and-a-half white tablets and one blue and white capsule containing MDMA, was also convicted and fined.
Magistrate Favretto said more young people are risking arrest at music festivals because there’s an expectation that first-time offenders would be granted a “section 10”, which is where a person is found guilty but doesn’t have a conviction recorded against their name.
Field Day 2016 saw police charge 184 punters with drug offences, and eight with drug dealing. The festival also saw a suspected drug overdose which left a 23-year-old woman in hospital. The woman, who was one of 212 people to receive medical treatment at the festival, was released from hospital the following day.
Drug incidents at Field Day 2016 and Stereosonic 2015 saw the NSW Government threaten to shut down any music festivals which don’t improve their safety standards earlier this month.
A Music Feeds Poll which attracted over 10,000 votes in December saw 83.48% of respondents say they are in favour of drug/pill testing at local festivals.
UPDATE: Names of people whose convictions have since been overturned on appeal have been removed from this story.
Gallery: Field Day 2016, The Domain, Sydney 01.01.16 / Photos: Maria Boyadgis
First-Time Offenders Given Criminal Records Over Field Day 2016 Drugs - Music Feeds