Graffiti artist offered diversion

A notorious Invercargill graffiti artist known as “Clap” may walk away from his court case without a conviction.

The 31-year-old retailer, who was granted name suppression appeared in the Invercargill District Court yesterday on four charges of wilful damage and five of intentional damage.

The man was granted interim name suppression at his last court appearance as he had been “harassed” on social media and was entitled to the presumption of innocence.

Counsel Keith Owen said his client had been offered diversion, which was being considered.

The police diversion scheme allows mostly first-time offenders to avoid a criminal record, provided they accept responsibility and complete a series of tasks.

Yesterday a new representative charge was laid covering damage to 31 buildings and property in the Invercargill CBD.

The charge covered alleged offending spanning 12 months from August last year.

Other specific charges relate to graffiti on a number of Invercargill businesses including The Langlands Hotel, Rebel Sport Invercargill and Chipmunks Playland & Cafe Invercargill.

Last month, the Southland Business Chamber said that police wanted to hear from any business owners whose property had been defaced by Clap.

The defendant remained on bail on conditions not to possess any instruments capable of intentional damage or graffiti and to abide by a 7pm-7am curfew.

He was remanded without plea to appear again on October 17.

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