Invercargill’s ‘Banksy’ may escape conviction

“Clap” tags and accompanying street art have been cropping up across Invercargill in a range of styles, with the odd poem thrown in. Photo / Ben Tomsett / ODT Graphic

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

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

The man, dubbed Invercargill’s answer to Banksy, 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.

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

Today a new representative charge was laid covering damage to 31 buildings 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 and Chipmunks.

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In August, the Southland Business Chamber said police wanted to hear from any business owners whose property Clap had defaced.

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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