Students charged for Homecoming pancake keggers appear in court

Ten students accused of hosting illegal keg parties during the Saturday morning of Homecoming are expected to attend a special seminar on the legal issues surrounding selling and serving liquor, to reduce fines they’ll incur if they plead guilty.

The students made a brief appearance in Kingston’s Provincial Offences Court on Monday, facing charges laid under the Liquor Control and Licensing Act.

Michael Balint, 21, Nicolas Bloomfield, 18, Varan Balasanian, 22, Luke R. Cole, 21, Marcel Comtois, 22, Brett Kamino, 19, Stephen McCann, 22, Patrick A. McKenna, Sasha Sadr, 20, and Kellen Voyer, 19, who live in four separate houses, were all charged.

Bloomfield, Sci ’08 and a FREC during Orientation Week, said the charges he incurred resulted from a pancake kegger he held for his frosh group and for ComSci and ArtSci frosh groups headed by his housemates.

“The reason for it was Homecoming and the spirit of Homecoming is, in my experience, my first year, my FREC threw me a pancake kegger. And what I figured is it was just tradition,” he told the Journal. “As a FREC, it was my responsibility to provide a pancake kegger for my frosh.

“I didn’t even think of it being shut down, just because I thought it was so routine.”

Bloomfield said the charges set out in the ticket he and three of his housemates received were keeping liquor for sale, offering liquor for sale and selling liquor. However, he said, on the court record, the charges will appear only against two individuals in his six-person house, resulting in an $800 fine total. The charged students living in the other three houses will also be fined $800, if they carry through with the seminar.

Police offered them the seminar option before they appeared in court.

Bloomfield said the officer who charged him explained the seminar seeks to educate.

“[It’s] trying to teach you the legal implications of throwing a kegger—basically, if you throw a kegger and you charge people to drink and then, say they drive home drunk, and kill someone—the most extreme case—then you’re liable for that,” Bloomfield said.

He said he thinks the seminar is a good idea.

“I’m not excited about going or anything, but it makes sense to me,” Bloomfield said. “[Liability is] not something we took into account when we were organizing [the kegger].”

The students were told that if they don’t agree to the deal and are found guilty, they would likely have to pay fines of $750 each, he said.

Bloomfield added that even so, paying the reduced fine will make him think twice about throwing a kegger in the future.

“If we were to throw one again, I would definitely look into getting a licence,” he said.

Bloomfield said pleading guilty to the charges will not result in a criminal record for him or the other students. The students will attend the seminar Nov. 15.

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