Jacaranda brawlers charged

Police and emergency services were kept busy in Grafton on Saturday night when fighting broke out in Market Square.
Police and emergency services were kept busy in Grafton on Saturday night when fighting broke out in Market Square. Lynne Mowbray

TENSIONS between some youths at the Jacaranda Queen Crowning Ceremony began to rise as the newly sashed Jacaranda Holiday Princess, Natasha Lentfer, was making her acceptance speech.

Luckily the ill-will didn't boil over until the majority of the 1000-strong crowd had peacefully left Market Square after Saturday's formalities had ended.

The brawl involving upward of 100 allegedly intoxicated teenagers broke out at about 9.20pm after police tried to clear the area, clearly sensing something was in the air.

The police patrolling the area were able to break-up the fighting without being injured, this was despite the officer facing extremely violent behaviour.

Police have since charged five youths, aged 16 and 17, with offences, including offensive behaviour and malicious damage.

It alleged that after being moved on from Market Square, the teenagers involved made their way to the skate park and witnesses saw at least two police cars speeding toward this new location.

Mayor Richie Williamson, who had just finished his ceremony hosting duties, was having official photos taken when the brawl erupted, and was disgusted by what he saw.

"If you didn't know where your child was on Saturday night, I suggest you start asking some serious questions at home.

"The display witnessed by the wider community on Saturday night was simply disgraceful.

"The first phone call I will be making Monday morning will be to Local Area Commander Superintendent Mark Holahan to ensure we have enough police numbers in place for the remainder of the festival because this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.

"I can assure that every effort will be made to ensure that the remainder of the festival can be enjoyed, as it should be, by the local community and a repeat of Saturday night does not happen.

"That kind of behaviour, whether it is after a community event or after lunch is simply not acceptable. And won't be accepted by myself or the community."

The police are hopeful of making further arrests in relation to the incident.

They are appealing for anyone with information about those involved to contact Grafton Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Topics:  brawl police

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