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Mural Painters Told To Get Permission First


Two young men charged with wilfully defacing the Devonshire Street tunnel were told by a magistrate in Newtown Court yesterday to get permission before trying to "pretty up" public property.

Mr Charles Gilmore, SM, found the offences proved against Kevin McKay and Robin Dunn, both 18, of Boundary Street, Paddington.  But he did not record a conviction against them and dismissed the charges under section 556A of the Crimes Act.

Both defendants pleaded guilty.

Sergeant Peter Marlan, prosecuting, said Dunn and McKay were seen by an SRA patrolman about 9pm on December 17 defacing the tunnel walls with 60cm-high letters.  Both had said they had not comment to make.

McKay, who described himself as a Christian worker and artist, told Mr Gilmore that he and Dunn had not been painting, but scraping posters off the wall so fellow Christians could paint a 15-metre mural.

"We were oblierating obscenities from teh wall in preparation for the mural," McKay said.  "We were acting in the spirit of the law and not the letter."

McKay said the graffiti had been in the tunner for two years and that rather than wait for permission, "we decided to do something... we thought we would go ahead and do it."

Mr Gilmore said McKay and Dunn were "to be applauded in trying to get rid of obscenities" but cautioned them not to "resort to self-help unilaterally."

"You are going to get yourselves in more trouble if you go around saying here's a public building, it needs prettying up," he said.

"If you go around putting murals on public buildings you run the risk of coming to the attention of the authorities."

Outside the court, McKay's father, Mr David McKay, said about one day's work was left to complete the mural, titled Wisdom Cries In The Street.
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