Mosque graffitist fined $750 with no conviction

THE man who defaced the Garden City Mosque has pleaded guilty to a charge of wilful damage.

Rony Dignity Ahmed was the last person to appear before the Toowoomba Magistrates Court today.

The court heard the 26-year-old was in town for the First Coat Festival in May when, using a black marker pen, he wrote various Arabic words and symbols on the walls and windows of the mosque.

The mosque was unusable at the time due to two arson attacks previously.

There was no suggestion Ahmed was involved in the arson attacks.

Police investigated and located two fingerprints on a CD at the scene which identified Ahmed.

Toowoomba police then located him in the Brisbane suburb of Redcliffe on June 9 and, during interviews, located a number of photos of the graffiti on his phone.

Duty solicitor Claire Graham said her client had told police he had photos of the damage on his phone and handed it over to officers.

She said her client had cooperated with police and willingly returned to Toowoomba to face court.

She said Ahmed had an interest in graffiti art and submitted to the court he had one prior offence in his criminal history from New South Wales.

"My client is upset by the effect this has had on people," she said.

She said since the damage occurred, her client had returned to Toowoomba on a number of occasions and apologised to the city's Islamic religious leaders.

He had also cleaned the graffiti from the mosque.

"He has apologised for his action and any disrespect he may have shown," she said.

Magistrate Bruce Schemioneck accepted Ahmed had apologised and felt remorse for his actions and took into account his early guilty plea.

He fined Ahmed $750 and ordered that no conviction be recorded.



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