Man denies Jewish grave attack

ROB KIDD
Last updated 12:49 23/10/2012

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Three men accused of desecrating Jewish graves have appeared in court charged with wilful damage.

A 19 and 20-year-old were granted interim name and image suppression at the Auckland District Court today but Nathan Symington was not.

More than a dozen headstones at the Symonds Street Cemetery's Jewish quarter were vandalised with images of swastikas and expletive-ridden anti-Israel messages on Thursday night.

The two men granted suppression had little to say outside court today but Symington was keen to emphasise his innocence.

"I'm fighting this to the bitter end," he said. "If I did it, I'd plead guilty straight away."

Symington described himself as "a small-time criminal" and claimed the police had raided his house looking for drugs.

His only connection to the crime was through a mate who took a photo of the graffiti and sent it to him, which he then shared, Symington said.

"I feel like killing myself over this. My name's been shamed," he said.

Symington said his partner was Maori and he was certainly not a racist.

"I feel like the African Americans did before they were liberated," he said.

Symington was critical of the police's handling of the case and said his lawyer would get him a public apology from them when the truth came out.

The three were remanded on bail to reappear in court in three weeks.

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

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- Auckland Now

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