A tagger has been jailed for three nights by well-known loather of tagging Judge Tony Adeane, who has ordered the teenager to spend the next three months paying off the $12,000 damage he caused.
Alan Mantell, 19, last month pleaded guilty to five charges of wilful damage in relation to tags he had made around Napier earlier this year.
He tagged power boxes, toilet blocks, bus shelters and other structures including Napier City Council property. The council sought reparation of $12,930.
Mantell also pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis, which was found when police searched his house on April 5.
He had no previous convictions but police had given him a formal caution for earlier tagging.
When he appeared before Judge Adeane in Napier District Court on Tuesday the judge put him in custody until yesterday.
Looking a little sheepish after three nights in the cells, Mantell was not spared from the judge's wrath yesterday.
When Mantell's lawyer Leo Lafferty handed the judge some judgments for similar offending, Judge Adeane asked what use they would be "when I am known as an eccentric, idiosyncratic and some people say excessive sentencer of taggers?"
He had mixed fortunes with some of his harsher sentences of taggers, he said. Some had been upheld on appeal while others had been overturned.
He said he would like to sentence Mantell to three months' prison for each of the 54 tags he made.
"Because as you know, we don't like taggers around here and our modest efforts have seemed to produce a bit of a result compared to other places."
Because Mantell said he could pay toward reparation, Judge Adeane chose to remand him on bail for three months to see how much he could pay.
Mantell was ordered to pay reparation of $70 a week and to reappear for sentencing in late November.
He will live with his mother and have a curfew for what the judge called "tagging hours" of 8pm to 6am.
In 2008 the judge became a local hero in Hawke's Bay when he took a hard line on taggers, giving a series of offenders a taste of prison.
At the time he said taggers were making Hastings look like a North American slum, and he rejected suggestions graffiti was art or culture.
Graffiti crime in the district halved after he took his tough stance.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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