Man accused of desecration pleads innocence
A man accused of desecrating Jewish graves with crude slogans and swastikas continues to maintain his innocence.
Christian Landmark, 20, appeared at the Auckland District Court this afternoon and pleaded not guilty to a charge of intentional damage.
He will re-appear in court in June for a defended hearing.
His co-accused, Robert Moulden, 19, pleaded guilty to the charge in November. He will be sentenced next month.
Moulden has undergone restorative justice with the Jewish community where he has been taught about the Holocaust and has even been to a member's house for a Friday night Shabbat dinner.
More than a dozen of the headstones in 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 the pair's bail conditions, they 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 on a Wellington cemetery in 2005.