Judge gives teen chance

23:30, Feb 26 2013

A judge has decided to give a Palmerston North teenager the chance to avoid having a criminal record, after she was caught defacing the war memorial in The Square and trespassing at a house.

About 10pm on December 24, Chiana Danielle Phillips, 18, was with a group of people hanging around the memorial.

Police were called after people, including Phillips, were seen writing on it.

"She admitted writing: ‘Rest in peace Sonny'," prosecutor Ollie Outtrim told the Palmerston North District Court yesterday.

Phillips was also caught at a Palmerston North house she was trespassed from on January 19.

Defence lawyer Simon Parsons said the gathering on Christmas Eve in The Square took place after Phillips' cousin died when struck by a car.

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It was advertised on Facebook.

"She was upset . . . Up to 50 people were present and they were mourning her cousin's death," Mr Parsons said.

"She had expressed some remorse for her actions and realises [the memorial] does commemorate the war dead."

Although she admitted one charge each of wilful damage and trespass, Judge Gregory Ross did not enter convictions.

He remanded the matter for a month to allow Phillips to complete diversion, as a means of avoiding a criminal record.

Phillips said she hoped to find work on a farm.

Manawatu Standard