Tuesday 19 September 2017

Graffiti pair planned to sell DVD of their interesting 'art'

Sonya McLean

Two teenagers caused more than €32,000 worth of damage to trams, train carriages and buses because they thought there would be public interest in their street art, a court has heard.

Charlie Magaharan (18) and Jamie Johnson (19), who called themselves Yogi and Robit, had intended to document their graffiti and compile a two-hour DVD, which they hoped to sell.

Gardai secured search warrants for their homes when they were captured on CCTV spraying in six-foot letters "ROBIT BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME" on the perimeter wall of a garda station.

Their computers were confiscated and a number of photos of graffiti on DART carriages, Luas trams and Dublin city buses were found on the hard drives.

Both made full admissions after their arrest, and Johnson said in interview that he thought he was a good enough street artist that the public would be interested in seeing his work.

Magaharan, of Monalea Park, Firhouse, and Johnson of Priory Walk, Terenure, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to four charges of criminal damage between September 2011 and January 2012.

Garda Niall Kennedy told Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that although the pair were wearing scarves and hats when they sprayed the wall, they were named in a tip-off.

Immature

The garda later spoke to Dublin Bus, Iarnrod Eireann and Veolia Transport and found that buses, carriages and trams in Ringsend, Connolly Station and the Red Cow had all been spray painted with the words "Robit", "evoke" and "Yogi". The damage caused amounted to €32,725.

Gda Kennedy agreed with Elva Duffy BL, defending Johnson, that he was "deeply shocked" when he realised the damage caused and offered his sincere apologies.

He also agreed with Anne-Marie Lawlor BL, for Magaharan, that he was a "particularly immature 17-year-old" and believed the graffiti was "some form of artistic expression".

Ms Duffy told Judge Mary Ellen Ring that her client had a difficult childhood and has significant responsibilities as he cares for both his grandfather and his mother who have health difficulties. He had €300 in court as a token of his remorse.

Ms Lawlor told Judge Ring that Magaharan had written a letter of apology to Iarnrod Eireann and is willing to do work in the community. He had €1,000 in court which he had saved.

Judge Ring remanded the pair on continuing bail and adjourned sentencing to July.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News