Earlier this year I had the privilege of being invited along to watch a pretty spectacular event – four lads, dressed in suits, who had a drink at the bar on the 55th floor of the Rialto, then donned parachutes and jumped off – all in peak hour. Here’s the (vastly incorrect) story:
And here’s a random pic of a BASE jumper who may or may not be one of the lads in the story… (hint: it is)
I can’t blame the media for getting it so wrong; virtually every word Shannon Bennett said was incorrect and I actually suspect he got it secondhand from someone who mixed up the groups of guys. For example:
- they ordered scotch, not cocktails
- they paid for their drinks
- their rigs were in their bags, not under their jackets (they didn’t even wear jackets, just shirt and tie)
- they were not asked to open their bags at any point
- they’re not American, only a couple of them are in their twenties…
Anyway, the point of this post is not to diss someone for getting it all wrong, but to talk about the laws they didn’t break.
After the jump, nobody predicted just how huge the story would be for a couple of days. When it became the lead story on every news outlet in the country, complete with warnings of CCTV footage and police talking heads that said they would find the ‘culprits’, a couple of said culprits got a little nervous. They’re high profile guys in the sport – one of them was even called upon to give expert comments on one of the TV news bulletins. Which was pretty damn funny.
The police never did catch them and it dawned on us it was because they hadn’t broken any laws. There is no law prohibiting BASE jumping in Victoria*. Let’s look at the laws they could have possibly broken:
1. Recklessly engaging in conduct that places or may place another person in danger of death. For this to fly, death must be a probable outcome of the conduct that they are engaging in. As these guys have done this hundreds – even thousands – of times without incident other than to themselves, death to someone else is certainly not a probably outcome.
2. Recklessly engaging in conduct that places or may place another person in danger of serious injury. As above.
3. Public nuisance. For this one, someone would have to actually complain. Nobody did.
4. Reckless destruction of or damage to property. There was no damage.
5. Trespass. They didn’t.
6. Flying a kite or playing at a game to the annoyance of another person. (Yes, this really exists). Nobody was annoyed.
So I raise a glass to these guys: they did an awesome, gutsy, James Bondesque stunt, gave the diners and people who were lucky enough to see it a great yarn and harmed nobody.
And if only they’d known how not illegal it was, they could’ve made a tidy sum with appearances on the ‘current affairs’ shows.
*Queensland and NSW do have laws against BASE jumping specifically, but this was done in Vic.
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