Youth in court on graffiti charge

AN Albury youth, 14, was forced to attend court over a graffiti offence through what appears to be anomaly in NSW legislation.

He does not have any previous convictions and often in such instances police send juvenile offenders to a youth justice conference.

But it has been pointed out in Albury Children’s Court that police do not have the power to adopt such a procedure under graffiti legislation.

So the youth, accompanied by his parents, had to appear before magistrate Tony Murray.

Mr Murray said the youth qualified for such an approach, referred him to a youth justice conference and deferred the case until September 23.

It is possible the youth may have to clean up graffiti as part of the conference process.

He has been excused from returning to court if he successfully completes the conferencing.

The youth was riding a skateboard and accompanied by a friend on the steps of a government building in Dean Street about 6.25pm on June 3.

A sign at the front said: “No loitering. Skateboards, rollerblades prohibited.”

There is a picture of a skateboard and rollerblades within a red circle on the sign.

The youth took out a black marker pen, drew over the words No and prohibited along with putting a cross over the picture of the skateboard and rollerblades.

A nearby security officer yelled out to him: “Haven’t you got better things to do?”

The youth and his friend ran off down Swift Street, but left behind a mobile phone.

The officer found the phone and handed it in at the police station.

When the youth returned looking for his phone, he was told it was in police possession and he needed to attend the station.

He arrived there about 6.40pm, admitted the damage and ownership of the phone.

Police contacted the youth’s mother, took him home and interviewed him in her presence.

The youth showed genuine remorse for what he had done and police confiscated the marker pen.