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Graffiti vandal spends Christmas behind bars

AUCKLAND CITY COUNCIL
MEDIA RELEASE
21 December 2005

Graffiti vandal spends Christmas behind bars

An 18-year old Onehunga man is behind bars today after receiving a sentence at the Auckland District Court of nine months in prison for criminal damage.

Joshua Folasa was convicted on four counts of criminal damage seven weeks ago. The charges related to graffiti on private property, a community mural in Onehunga, and two charges of graffiti to the Auckland District Court building.

Graffiti prevention officer Rob Shields says that the Zero Tolerance Programme volunteers were instrumental in helping Auckland City gather the evidence required to make a case against Mr Folasa.

"Aucklanders have had enough. The Onehunga community was particularly incensed by the destruction of the mural at Tintaks Reserve, which was painted by Sanitarium staff who devoted a day to the community service initiative.

"Our volunteer programme is growing and this good result shows that it is a valuable aspect of the overall award-winning zero tolerance programme. This is a victory in the battle against graffiti. We've won this round, but the war is far from over."

Chairperson of Auckland City's Public Safety and Community Order Committee, Graeme Mulholland, says he is delighted with the court's decision.

"This is a great result and sends a clear message to graffiti vandals that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated by either the court, council or community. These vandals are costing ratepayers and private property owners thousands of dollars. The best way to help young people stop offending is to hold them fully accountable for their actions. The court has done this by passing down such a firm sentence."

Mr Shields adds, "It's a shame that this young man is now in prison for Christmas, but graffiti vandalism is not cool, and the sooner young people and the hip-hop community realise that, the better off the city will be."

Ends


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