Art student vandalised utilities box
AN art student was arrested for vandalising a council utilities box on a city street in full view of nearby gardai.
Sean Whelan (21) had been out drinking when he began scrawling on the box, leaving it "covered in ink".
Judge Michael Walsh struck out the charge against him at Dublin District Court when he paid a total of €200 in compensation and a charity donation.
Whelan, of St Declan's Road, Marino, pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage to a city council utility box at College Green.
Sgt Zita Woods said Whelan was caught "tagging" the box with a pen in the early hours. It was covered in ink, she said. It cost €30 to remove the graffiti.
Whelan had no previous convictions of any kind, but had been given the benefit of the adult caution scheme last year.
Defence solicitor Stephen O'Mahony said his client accepted he should have learned from this.
"Ironically", he was training to be an artist and had been accepted by the National College of Art and Design.
"I think that is probably where he should focus his talent rather than on the street," Mr O'Mahony said.
Whelan had been out drinking on the night and had the pen in his possession when he caused the damage. He had done it openly, in view of the gardai and had not tried to evade them.
He had money in court to pay for the damage, and Mr O'Mahony asked Judge Walsh to make a "benign order".
After Whelan paid €200 in compensation and a charity donation, the judge struck the charge out, warning that if there was a repeat of the offence, it could harm his career prospects and "nobody would want to know him".