Cemetery vandal ordered out of NZ

Last updated 14:54 29/06/2013
Christian Landmark
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ
IN COURT: Christian Landmark outside the Auckland District Court.

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A man who desecrated Jewish graves in Auckland with swastikas and racist slogans has been ordered to leave the country.

Christian Landmark, 20, an Englishman on a holiday visa, supplied the spray can and accompanied his friend Robert Moulden when they defaced graves in the Jewish Quarter of the Symonds St Cemetery on October 19, 2012.

Landmark later implicated his co-accused to police then tried to sell pictures of his friend to TV news.

Moulden pleaded guilty in November but Landmark tried unsuccessfully to defend the charge.

He was found guilty by Judge Russell Collins who said he found the fact that Landmark had tried to profit from the crime as a "serious aggravating factor".

At sentencing yesterday, Landmark was not jailed but was told he had to turn back up at court in August with a plane ticket and $3000 for reparations.

He was also ordered to undertake some voluntary community work.

In his judgement, the judge pointed out a telling text exchange between Landmark and a friend.

The friend texted "Saw your handy work on the filthy jew cemetry g it made the news" to which Landmark replied "lmfao which news lol". His reply amounted to him adopting the statement the friend had made, the judge said.

Landmark's lawyer Tudor Clee had argued that the prosecution's case rested entirely on the evidence of Moulden whose story changed a number of times.

Moulden said he did not paint all the gravestones so he assumed Landmark had done some of them.

Crown prosecutor Catherine Gisler said whether Landmark sprayed any paint was beside the point as he and Moulden had formed a "common purpose" which was enough to convict him of being a party to the offence.

The judge said Moulden's evidence was not entirely reliable but he struck him as someone who was trying to minimise the involvement of others. However, "he was not prepared to accept it was he and he alone".

Landmark's police interview was played during the trial in which he said he had "no beliefs" and that he "wasn't anti-semitic".

However, in text messages presented in court he said to a friend: "I agree but f... niggers and Maoris though. They should die."

A defence witness, Nick Rosewarne, said he was present when Moulden bragged about defacing the graves the night before the night in question.

He also said Moulden texted him on Thursday and warned him not to come to court.

The judge said he found it "utterly impossible" that the graffiti could have been there for a day - in plain view in central Auckland - without being reported.

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Accordingly he found it was committed on the night of the 18th to 19th of October when Landmark was there with
Moulden.

The judge said Landmark's police interview showed him for half an hour delivering a "complete lie" in a "calm, articulate and measured way".

When confronted with a contrary witness account, without changing tone, Landmark asked to restart the interview then implicated his friend entirely.

In the interview Landmark admitted making up the email address jewgravedisgrace@live.com and trying to sell the photos of Moulden to TV3.

Judge Collins said the offending was at the very top end of the range.

His case was not like Moulden's who pleaded guilty early on, attended restorative justice and did not seek to profit from his crime.

- Fairfax Media

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