Man admits desecration of graves

ROBERT MOULDEN: Pleaded guilty to a charge of intentional damage.
ROBERT MOULDEN: Pleaded guilty to a charge of intentional damage.

A man has admitted desecrating Jewish graves with crude slogans at an Auckland cemetery but his co-accused is maintaining his innocence.

Robert Moulden, 19, appeared at the Auckland District Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to a charge of intentional damage.

He will be sentenced in February.

His co-accused, Christian Landmark, 20, will fight the charge and is due back in court in January.

Name suppression for both men lapsed when they appeared in court.

More than a dozen headstones in the Jewish quarter of the Symonds St Cemetery were vandalised with images of swastikas and expletive-ridden anti-Israeli messages on October 19.

Police withdrew a charge against a third man accused of being involved in the attack.

As part of their bail conditions, the pair are not allowed to go to graveyards, synagogues or Jewish schools.

The cemetery, Auckland's first, has long been a target for vandals and also attracts people sleeping rough. 

The attack "sickened" Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres who said at the time that anti-Semitism of this kind was rare.

The last such attack was on a Wellington cemetery in 2005.

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CHRISTIAN LANDMARK: Maintains his innocence of the desecration of Jewish graves.
CHRISTIAN LANDMARK: Maintains his innocence of the desecration of Jewish graves.
DEFACED: Jewish graves in Symonds St Cemetery were desecrated with swastikas and expletive-ridden messages.
DEFACED: Jewish graves in Symonds St Cemetery were desecrated with swastikas and expletive-ridden messages.

Auckland Now