Air Force plane tagger avoids jail
A West Auckland painter who "brought shame on New Zealand pride" by tagging a Royal Australian Air Force plane with genitalia, Nazi insignia and anti-Australian slogans has avoided a jail term.
Charles Wilson Bullen, 35, was sentenced to 12 months supervision, 87 hours community work and ordered to undergo alcohol and drug counselling and pay $4000 reparation after appearing in the Waitakere District Court today.
Bullen admitted two charges of intentional damage today ahead of his sentencing.
The charges included damaging the Royal Australian Air Force C17 Globemaster aircraft in September 2008 and damaging a Hobsonville Indian restaurant two months later.
Bullen's tagging was so extensive the aircraft had to be removed from active service and flown back to Australia for repairs.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force was also forced to review its security measures, costing them up to $60,000 to make sure staff were guarding planes at all times.
Bullen's lawyer, John Munro, said his client's offending stemmed from an "alcohol abuse problem" and said that he would drink heavily five times a week without the foresight of the consequences.
Judge Claire Ryan said most people convicted of crimes had no foresight.
"Most offending is stupid, that's why people get caught," she said.
While acknowledging Bullen had an alcohol problem that needed addressing, Judge Ryan said he had not taken steps to undergo treatment until appearing in court today.
However, she commended him for voluntarily helping Auckland Council remove graffiti across the city in his spare time, for which she discounted his community work punishment by 135 hours.
Bullen was arrested in April when DNA taken from a domestic incident on Christmas day was matched with DNA from the scene of the "wanton rampage of destruction" at the Indian restaurant where he cut himself and left blood on a plastic sheet.
That DNA also matched saliva found on a wheel cover of the aircraft where he spat while tagging.