TWO YOUNG males who went on a graffiti rampage will have to pay almost $6000 in damages.
A judicial registrar gave a stern warning about re-offending and placed them on a diversion program for the “offensive and very concerning” language spray-painted on a Ballarat school earlier this year. Keegan Smart, 20, and Adam Murphy, 20, appeared in Ballarat Magistrates Court on Friday accused of spray-painting obscene language on Ballarat Christian College buildings on June 14.
In a summary presented to the court, it was outlined how the youths walked into the school grounds wearing masks to conceal their identity and used black and green paint to write crude language on the main building, portable and footpath. As a result the principal decided to close the school for the day while the graffiti was cleaned off. Police patrolling the precinct saw the fresh graffiti and after entering the school grounds to inspect the damage sighted the youths running from the area.
The youths were located in Wareen Street in possession of the face masks and cans of spray paint. Smart was later taken to Ballarat Police Station for questioning.
In an interview with police, Smart stated he read an article in The Courier about an email sent to parents of the Ballarat Christian College, urging the school community to oppose marriage equality. Smart told police he didn't like that the school's principal was trying to force his own views and opinions on to others, but acknowledged (spray-painting) was a stupid thing to do and wasn't the right way to go about voicing his opinions. Describing the act as a “wilful act of destruction of property”, judicial registrar Michael Bolte told the youths “the community finds it offensive".
“The fact that both offenders have shown remorse … and are prepared to pay for the damage goes to your favour,” he said. “You get one opportunity … waste that opportunity and don't look for empathy of the court in the future.” Both youths were placed on a diversion program for 12 months.