Judge jails 'tagger' another 30 days for Preston Street graffiti
By Andrew Seymour, The Ottawa CitizenAugust 27, 2010
OTTAWA — A 21-year-old man who sprayed graffiti along Preston
Street in what was described as “an imbecilic game of tag” was
sentenced to 30 days in jail Friday.
Kyle Kenneth McAndrew pleaded guilty to mischief for the
spree of vandalism involving him and six other people that
caused $20,000 worth of damage along the popular Little Italy
strip during the early morning hours of June 15, 2009.
Assistant Crown attorney James Bocking told Ontario Court
Justice Richard Lajoie that McAndrew and his friends were caught
“black-handed” by police at around 4:45 a.m. after tagging
nearly a dozen businesses or private residences as well as a
mailbox, a concrete wall near the Transitway, the O-Train
station, a billboard and other property. The vandalism occurred
just days before Italian Week celebrations.
“This is not even an attempt at artwork, it is merely an
imbecilic game of tag, where the goal is to put your personal
signature on someone else’s property,” Preston Street BIA
executive director Lori Mellor wrote in a victim impact
statement. “These perpetrators are not doing anything to improve
the neighbourhood, only tearing it down with their filth.”
Mellor wrote that business owners are tired of their windows,
delivery vehicles and other property being “savaged by paint.”
They have already struggled enough through slow sales from the
global economic downtown, road and sewer work along Preston
Street and last year’s transit strike, she wrote.
“It feels like they are being kicked while they are down,”
she wrote. “It infuriates them that bored kids are allowed to
run rampant with no responsibility for the damage they have
McAndrew also pleaded guilty to twice violating release
conditions by possessing spray paint cans. He has remained in
jail since his arrest Aug. 18 near the VIA Rail tracks on
Belfast Road, where police caught him with another man carrying
two spray cans.
“The message needs to be sent that small businesses in this
town aren’t one’s canvas,” said Bocking.
McAndrew’s lawyer, Gerry White, said his client’s
“dysfunction” extends beyond graffiti to alcoholism.
“These young people think it is art. You and I and the court
and the public think it is a gross nuisance,” said White.
Lajoie agreed, sentencing McAndrew to 30 days on top of time
already served and 20 hours of community service.
“You can argue you are expressing artistic talents but the
majority of the population doesn’t see it that way,” said
Lajoie, who also sentenced McAndrew to two years probation,
including conditions not to possess any graffiti-making items
such as paint cans and to stay 50 metres away from Preston
Street unless in transit or for work.