15. Did the police drop the charges?

Some people copped several charges. All up, the cops levelled 21 charges of participating in an unauthorized procession, 12 charges of swearing, 16 of hindering police, 4 of failure to observe their directions, 2 of offensive behaviour and 1 of disobeying a reasonable instruction. They got 6 people for resisting arrest, 2 for assaulting policemen, 1 for malicious injury and 1 for a ‘proscribed concentration of alcohol’.

Some of the court cases dragged on for ages. Many people were listed to go to Court 6 or 7 times and 19 people’s cases were finally dismissed in November 1979. All in all, the Central Court of Petty Sessions dismissed at least 23 people on 26 charges (and the trail dies out on 33% of the cases). There are two explanations. Either the police ‘mislaid’ the paperwork or they did not give the revellers time to disperse. However, not everyone got off scot free. The Court used the Summary Offences Act to fine 3 people for ‘unseemly words’; 4 for ‘hindering the police’, 2 for ‘resisting arrest’; 1 for ‘behaving in an offensive manner’ and 1 for ‘malicious injury and resisting arrest’.
Kate Rowe did not pay her $50 fine for swearing at a cop and went to jail for two days. Owen Sullivan, who said he didn’t have anything to do with the parade, had to pay $75. Peter Murphy, who had been bashed in the Police Station, ended up paying $200.

Authors: Gavin Harris and John Witte.

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