Graffiti on the Gympie Saleyards.
Graffiti on the Gympie Saleyards.

Graffiti gang off the rails

AN organised graffiti gang from Victoria, who spraypainted their way to Queensland and were caught vandalising property in Gympie, promised to put their artistic talents to good use in future.

The group of four were brought before Gympie Magistrates Court after they were caught by police just hours after they painted a commuter train at Gympie North Railway Station and tagged public infrastructure, including the Gympie Saleyards.

They had parked their car at the end of a dirt road about 2am on July 29 and walked on foot, in the dark, to the station where they painted a number of rail carriages on the daily Gympie-to-Brisbane passenger train.

They then wandered about, tagging property while trying to find their way back to the car.

All four were charged with two counts of wilful damage, possession of graffiti instruments and a trespass offence.

The court heard the alleged ring-leader Jake Elliot Mahony, 20, invited his friends to stay at his parent’s place at Noosa and after a night on the grog hatched a plan to head to Gympie with their spraycans.

He was remanded in custody and appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday to be sentenced for 28 charges of wilful damage by graffiti and a number of other offences he committed in Brisbane. His matter was adjourned to September 20.

Mahony’s friends Jess Thomas Layton, 26, and Dimitri Nowikow, 19, were denied bail and pleaded guilty in Gympie Magistrates Court on Tuesday where they were given suspended prison sentences and ordered to pay their share of the damages.

Nowikow’s girlfriend Shaniece Lee Stocks, 17, pleaded guilty on Monday to the charges and was fined $1000 and ordered to pay $685 restitution.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Jason Todman told the court the vandalised train had to be taken off the tracks which “caused all sorts of delays”.

He said the cost of the damage was $2740 but to Queensland Rail it would have been closer to $21,000 in losses.

Layton, a qualified painter and decorator told the court he had been drinking, wasn’t thinking and had gone along with the crowd.

“The decision was made late at night. It was just a stupid, stupid thing,” he said and added that he had never been in custody before and “couldn’t handle” the five days he had spent in the watchhouse.

“I realise I’ve got to grow up...and put my artistic talents to good use,” he said.

Sgt Todman said the offence was a pre-meditated attack on private property and the defendants needed a “short, sharp stay in prison”.

He said the day before he came to Gympie, Nowikow had been fined $750 in Maroochydore Court for wilful damage by graffiti and obstructing a police officer.

Magistrate Maxine Baldwin said Nowikow and Layton would need to find another way to showcase their artistic talents and explained to them how their actions affected the community.

She sentenced Nowikow to two months’ jail suspended for 12 months, and Layton to one month jail suspended for 12 months as well as placing him on an intensive corrections order for six months.

Both men were ordered to pay $685 in restitution.

Gympie Times

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