Banora teen Facebook fight charge

Police were on patrol at Tweed City Shopping Centre but the brawl did not eventuate.
Police were on patrol at Tweed City Shopping Centre but the brawl did not eventuate.

A TEENAGER has been charged after a fight organised on a social networking website attracted the attention of more than 5000 people.

Tweed police charged a 19-year-old Banora Point man with using a carriage service to make a hoax/threat late Wednesday afternoon.

The charges related to a fight organised on Facebook at a Tweed Heads shopping centre on March 5, which more than 5000 people indicated they would attend.

As a result police deployed additional resources to the area, but nothing eventuated.

Tweed Police Inspector Greg Carey said they made numerous inquiries to identify the event’s “anonymous” creator and charged the 19-year-old man on Wednesday.

“People need to be aware that simply because they are using such sites and believing that they would be able to remain anonymous, we have the capabilities to investigate and identify them,” Insp Carey said.

He added the arrest should serve as a warning about the dangers of social networking sites.

“It’s a warning to people who seek to use social media sites for illicit activities or to generate anti-social criminal behaviour,” Insp Carey said.

“When the police are made aware of such threats or advertisement of anti-social activity we will investigate, and if appropriate police will charge people if we believe a criminal act has been committed.

“It’s a warning to the community that the phenomenon of social networking sites has now crossed the threshold of community interaction to criminal behaviour.”

Insp Carey said it also reminded users people were not always who they said they were on social networking sites.

“We would encourage parents at a very early stage when their children start using computers to monitor them closely,” Insp Carey said.

“When using social media networks they need to put in place very strict boundaries about their use and closely supervise children at the entry of their cyberspace activity so they don’t get involved in, or generate their own, anti-social activities for some kind of gratification.

"We would encourage the community who use social network sites or are supervising children if they see anything that they believe to be of a criminal behaviour to contact Crime Stoppers, or if they live in the Tweed-Byron command, one of our seven police stations.”

The 19-year-old man was granted conditional bail to appear in Tweed Heads Local Court on April 11.

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