After a large gathering of approximately 300 people took place in the University District of downtown Kingston, police have laid charges in relation to breaches of COVID-19 regulations.
The partying in the street, which involved fighting and throwing bottles, and a lot of loud revelry, took place in the early morning hours of Sunday, Jul. 4, 2021 on Aberdeen Street – a small street in the University District often associated with Queen’s students parties.
On Wednesday, Jul. 7, 2021, Sgt. Steve Koopman of the Kingston Police Traffic Safety Unit disclosed that three individuals who acted as “hosts” of the most recent party incident had been charged.
“Upon reviewing video footage and initial responding officers’ reports, investigators recently attended specific residences on Aberdeen Street,” he said in a press release.
“Three tenants of one property, between 20 and 21 years of age, all identified as Queen’s University students, were spoken to and grounds were formed that they were acting as hosts of a gathering in excess of 25 people, an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA).”
Police said that each of the three individuals were issued a summons to attend Provincial Offences Court in October 2021. A person who is convicted of a hosting offence under this section is liable to a fine of not less than $10,000 and up to $100,000, with the additional option of imprisonment up to one year. Kingston Police also explained that the identities of the students will be shared with Queen’s University administration, who will then decided if their Student Code of Conduct should be applied.
“Kingston Police wish to remind occupiers of residences, whether owners or tenants, that if they are present at an event or gathering on that premise it is presumed by legislation, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, they are hosting or organizing the event or gathering. If the owner or tenant of a premise does not condone or does not wish uninvited people to come onto the property or into the residence, they are asked to contact Kingston Police who can enforce offences under the Trespass to Property Act or other related statutes,” police said in a statement.
“Kingston Police also continue to liaise with KFL&A Public Health, and as per their recommendations remind those who were in attendance at this gathering to self-monitor to see if COVID-19 symptoms develop, and get tested if they do.”
And while charges have now been laid, the investigation into the incident remains ongoing, police relayed. Kingston Police are investigating tenants of other properties who “appear to have hosted, organized or condoned the large gathering,” and anyone with information on the identity of any of the party-goers – whether they were organizers or attendees – is asked to contact Const. Cam Mack of Kingston Police at [email protected] or via 613-549-4660 ext. 6371.
Tips can also be made anonymously by calling the Kingston Police general number (613-549-4660 ext. 0) and requesting to remain anonymous.
Just after 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jul. 7, 2021, Queen’s University provided a statement regarding these events:
“We were disappointed to learn that several of our students are facing charges under the Reopening Ontario Act as a result of their involvement in a large gathering on Aberdeen Street over the July 1st long weekend. Through an agreement with Kingston Police, the identities of these students will be shared with Queen’s University administration for consideration under the Student Code of Conduct process. Students that violate the Student Code of Conduct could face a range of possible university sanctions for noncompliance.
“We are grateful for the efforts of our police and bylaw officials, who have a challenging job and play an important role in our collective efforts to keep our community healthy and safe. While the University supports students being accountable for their behaviour, we also appreciate the majority of Queen’s students have followed public health guidelines throughout the last 18 months, and the police have made efforts to recognize this in their enforcement activities.
“The University will continue to work closely with our partners in the City, Kingston Police, and KFL&A Public Health in our efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including continued education and awareness efforts, vaccination clinics on campus, and where necessary, addressing student conduct.”
– Mark Erdman, University Spokesperson