Cemetery desecrator sentenced

February 28, 2013 by Miriam Bell
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Punishment for the man who desecrated 15 Jewish graves in Auckland’s oldest cemetery, with swastikas and crude anti-Israeli graffiti, is to be 320 hours community service, nine months supervision and $3000 reparation.

Graves with slogans

Graves with slogans

Judge Russell Collins sentenced Robert Moulden (19) in the Auckland District Court yesterday, after he pled guilty to a charge of willful damage in November. He hoped the community work would include a placement with the Auckland Council’s graffiti team.

Judge Collins said that he took Moulden’s age, previous clean record, early guilty plea and remorse into account in his sentencing. He also noted that Moulden had taken part in a restorative justice conference with members of the Auckland Jewish community.

However, he said Moulden’s actions met the definition of a hate crime, and that some of the Jewish community had lost loved ones in the Holocaust and felt “enormous pain” because of the cemetery desecration in October.

While Moulden’s willingness to engage with the Jewish community was to his credit, Judge Collins said “a more extraordinary outcome” was “the forgiving nature of the members of the Jewish community” – which had invited Moulden to attend religious ceremonies in homes and even offered to help with his education.

“Their forgiveness of you needs to be admired considering how wounding and distressing your actions were.”

The other man charged in the case – Christian Landmark (20) – plead not guilty to a charge of willful damage in January. The charge carries a maximum prison sentence of seven years. He will appear in court again, for a defended hearing, in June.

Charges against a third person were earlier dropped by the police.

Auckland Jewish Council co-president, Geoff Levy, told media he respected the judge’s decision but that the damage caused could never be undone as the damaged gravestones could not be properly restored.

“The shadows of the Nazi symbols painted on the gravestones will remain because the stone is so old and porous the spray paint has sunk in… What it means is that the great killers of the Jewish people throughout the world have had their names imposed on our gravestones. That is an insult and a desecration.”

He told J-Wire: “Well the decision is the decision!  There is still the other defendant to be tried by the court. The penalty for this defendant is light but in the  lower  range of   current sentences for this type of offence.
We can only hope that the defendant has learned from his stupid and wanton behaviour. He   has apparently offered to help the Police  with their further enquiries . The judge formed a responsible view of the actions of the Jewish Community in relation to meeting with the defendant   (see article above). We  will see what contact we have further from the probation service  and/or the police.”

Police said the total cost of the damage amounted to more than $27,000.

Comments

One Response to “Cemetery desecrator sentenced”
  1. Shirlee says:

    Hate to be picky here and I presume J-Wire didn’t pen this item.

    NZ and Australia both don’t use American English so this grates on the ‘ears’.

    “he pled guilty”

    It should be “he PLEADED guilty”

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