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18/12/08 - The Police response to an out-of-control party at 95 Edgeware Road, Christchurch, in May 2007 was appropriate and did not contribute to the deaths of two young women at the party, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has found.
According to the Authority’s report, Police were about to close down the party when Lipine Sila drove his car into a crowd, killing two and injuring 17 others.
The Authority said that Police have limited powers in relation to out-of-control parties on private property, and did not have legal authority to close down the Edgeware Road party earlier in the evening.
“Once they had the legal power to act, there was no undue delay. Supervising officers and extra staff were called in and police formed into skirmish lines to close down the party,” said Authority Chair Justice Lowell Goddard. “Police actions were timely, appropriate, and consistent with the law.”
The Authority noted that the Edgeware Road party was one of several ‘Priority 1’ incidents Police were required to respond to during the evening of 5 May 2007, and – until the tragic events – the party was not substantially different from other out-of-control parties that Police routinely deal with.
“Police could not have predicted Mr Sila’s actions,” said Justice Goddard. “There was no relationship between those actions and the timing of the Police decision to close down the party.”