Cenotaph vandals escape jail
BLACK spray paint scrawled across a cenotaph commemorating Warwick people who died in our country’s wars caused outrage throughout the town, yet the trio responsible avoided jail this week.
Travis Matthew Gibson, 19, of Maclean and Nayla Davis, 18, of Grafton – along with a juvenile who cannot be identified – sprayed paint in 14 locations in Palmerin Street and Leslie Park last year.
All three fronted the Warwick Magistrates Court this week and narrowly avoided jail time but received a tongue-lashing from Magistrate Anne Thacker.
They each pleaded guilty to nine counts of wilful damage by graffiti and were sentenced to six months probation.
The police prosecutor told the court the offences were carried out in the early hours of October 7.
The offenders were “easily identified” due to the graffiti “tags” which defaced the cenotaph and the other locations.
The court heard police had located two empty spray cans and a half-empty bottle of rum in Leslie Park.
When questioned, the police prosecutor said Davis “showed no remorse”, laughed and at no stage was co-operative.
The couple’s defence counsel said the accused made the trip from New South Wales to Warwick “to face the music”.
“I know a lot of people were outraged by the desecration of the war memorial but they’ve pleaded guilty to all charges,” their lawyer said.
Magistrate Thacker was unimpressed and said people valued war memorials, especially people in country towns.
“You come into town and destroy something what (Warwick) holds valuable – it’s the sort of thing for which imprisonment could be imposed,” she said.
“Except that you have no (criminal) history I’d have no hesitation to simply send you to prison.
“You need to know that because if you breach the order that’s where you’ll be going, especially if you’re in front of me.
“We live in a country that’s got about 20 million people. You have to learn to live with them and understand what is valuable to them, even if it’s not valuable to you, otherwise there’s no alternative but to remove you from the community to prison.”
Warwick RSL Sub-branch secretary Barry Kelly said the group had been contacted and the juvenile had “respectfully apologised”.
“The court contacted us and we had a meeting. All is forgiven. We all do stupid things and this (damaging the cenotaph) was a stupid, stupid thing to do,” he said.