A 21-year-old who tagged homes around Havre des Pas with bright pink graffiti during lockdown has been handed a year-long probation order and urged to take advantage of the chance to turn his life around.
Conor Robert Hughes had previously admitted nine counts of malicious damage, one of which dated back 19 February.
The eight others related to a late night spate of graffiti in late April.
As well as islanders' houses, several garages were also daubed with bright pink graffiti. The markings contained a distinctive 'tag' resembling the word 'ezer', while some of the graffiti appeared to say 'Booo'.
Pictured: All of the graffiti were of a "similar if not identical type”.
Hughes appeared in the Magistrate’s Court yesterday to be sentenced by Relief Magistrate David Le Cornu.
Legal Adviser Simon Crowther told Court that the graffiti tagging had all taken place within 20 minutes in the late evening of 25 April, with all graffiti being of a "similar if not identical type”.
CCTV footage of the area showed Hughes walking around the street.
When Police went to Hughes’ home, they found clothing that matched the CCTV footage as well as aerosol cans.
His mother confirmed he had left home for a brief period at the relevant time, and had been drinking before coming back home.
Pictured: Clothing found in Hughes' home matched CCTV footage.
Mr Crowther read a statement on behalf of the members of the community affected.
It said that, while it could be considered just a bit of paint, the malicious damage felt personal as it had targeted homes. It also explained that the damage made elderly neighbours feel even more vulnerable at a time already filled with anxiety.
Those living in the area had to power wash, scrub and repaint their walls to get rid of the damage.
Hughes’ lawyer, Advocate Julian Gollop, handed out references of behalf of his client and gave the Relief Magistate a copy of the note he intended to send to each of the affected property owners to apologise.
The lawyer said his client recognised he had made “silly mistakes”, but added that Hughes’ behaviour had been in “no doubt” compounded by his social anxiety and addiction to medication.
He also referred to “a number of traumatic events in his young life which he still coming to terms with”.
Pictured: Advocate Julian Gollop represented Hughes.
Advocate Gollop reminded the Court that Hughes pleaded guilty to all charges at the first opportunity - even the February charge which he said he had “little recollection of”.
He said that Hughes had previously been in court over an unrelated matter, but asked the Court to nonetheless treat him as a first offender, highlighting his young age.
Advocate Gollop further explained that his client was unable to compensate any of the victims for the damage to their properties, as he had lost his job as a gardener due to the pandemic.
However, he said the young man was actively seeking employment and awaiting responses to the applications he had submitted.
Advocate Gollop also noted how Hughes had voluntary referred himself to the Alcohol and Drugs service.
Pictured: Advocate Gollop said his client was unable to compensate any of the victims for the cost of dealing with the damage to their properties.
The Relief Magistrate said he accepted the offences were out of character, highlighting Hughes' "exceptionally good references”, and that he had showed genuine remorse.
“The victims must have found It a very unpleasant exercise particularly at this time where we were all dealing with the same problem,” Mr Le Cornu added. “Home is place where you should feel safest.”
The Relief Magistrate did not make an order for compensation. He handed Hughes a 12-month probation order, saying it would be a way for him to “sort out his problems”.
He added that Hughes would have to follow a work plan and act as directed by the Probation Officer.
“If there is any breach and you’re back in court… the Court might take a very different view,” he warned Hughes. “Take advantage of the chances the Court is giving you.”
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.