Host facing minimum $10K fine after large Halloween party near Western University campus
LONDON, ONT. -- Police in London, Ont. have charged two people in connection with a Halloween party that drew more than 150 people to a home near Western University.
Surveillance video from the night of Oct. 30 shows dozens of party-goers outside the townhouse on Beaufort Street.
Next-door neighbour Myren Mo says he called 911 that night, "I feel like their holding a party during Halloween, especially under this pandemic, is definitely unacceptable and irrational. So I know that people have been really outrageous, mad online."
Police, the health unit and the city worked together to speak with witnesses and determine charges.
London police Const. Sandasha Bough says, "You need to ensure public safety. We're in the second phase of this pandemic, and we will not hesitate to lay charges."
The host of the event, a 23-year-old London man, has been charged with hosting a nuisance party under the City of London's bylaw and under the Reopening Ontario Act with participating in an indoor gathering that exceeded 10 people and hosting an indoor gathering which exceeded 10 people.
The minimum fine he faces is $10,000.
A 24-year-old London man was also charged under the Reopening Ontario Act with participating in an indoor gathering that exceeded 10 people and issued a fine of $750.
Both are scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 25, 2021.
Fines under the city bylaw can be as high as $25,000 as well as city costs for dealing with the event. The bylaw was amended in 2019 to deal with large FOCO (fake homecoming) events at Western University.
Police say the investigation is ongoing and are encouraging anyone with information to contact them.
London residents are reminded that social gathering limits are set at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors to protect the health and well-being of everyone.
Anyone with concerns about businesses or individuals not following COVID-19-related orders in London is asked to email COVIDOrderConcerns@london.ca or call 519-661-4660 (Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). After hours London police can assist.
Bough adds, "If we don’t know we can’t go. We need the public to report suspicious activity, report large gatherings like this to ensure we are able to investigate them."
Western University had said they would consider applying code of conduct policies to any students who may have participated.
But a statement released Tuesday by Jennie Massey, Western's associate vice-president of Student Experience, says "We have no indication that these individuals are Western students.'
Fanshawe College issued a similar statement. Elaine Gamble, senor manager of Corporate Communications said those involved have not been identified by name to the college.
She continued, "If students are identified to us by name as having not followed health and safety protocols in a way that puts others on campus at risk, we will review those cases under the Student Code of Conduct, follow up and apply sanctions as appropriate."
A previous version of this story stated the Middlesex-London Health Unit had confirmed three people who attended the Halloween party had since tested positive for COVID-19.
However, the health unit released a statement Wednesday saying no recent cases have "been linked conclusively to a house party that occurred on Beaufort Street, In London, On October 30th to 31st."
The statement continued, "Three Fanshawe College students who tested positive for COVID-19 were reported to the Health Unit on Saturday, November 7th. These students were close contacts of a previous case and did not attend the Beaufort Street house party.
"The Middlesex-London Health Unit regrets causing confusion about this situation and apologizes for any resulting mis-communication."