Spanish spray painters sentenced for ‘misguided artistic endeavour’

by Gazette Reporter
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By Eimear Dodd

Three Spanish men who spray painted the exteriors of four Dart carriages as part of a “misguided artistic endeavour” have each received a suspended prison sentence.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the three men’s actions resulted in over €18,700 in damages and loss of revenue to Irish Rail.

Jonay Saiz Gallo (25), Luis Garcia Diaz (30) and Francisco Jose Jiminez Espinosa (27) each pleaded guilty to criminal damage at Fairview Dart Depot on October 10, 2021.

Judge Pauline Codd said a substantial amount of damage was caused.

She imposed suspended sentences on the three men and ordered them to pay compensation to Irish Rail within 12 months.

Gallo of Mountshannon Road, Dublin 8, Espinosa of Susan Terrace, Dublin 8 and Diaz, who the court heard resides in Madrid, each have no previous convictions. 

Garda Richard Ledwidge gave evidence that Irish Rail staff spotted four men spray painting Dart carriages on CCTV at 2.59 pm.

One of the four, later identified as Gallo, was using his phone to record the others. The men started to walk towards East Wall, followed by an Irish Rail employee.

Gda Ledwidge agreed with Karl Moran BL prosecuting, that the men began to run and dumped their bags in a ditch.

The men were spotted by a garda patrol, who directed them to stop. They ignored gardai and ran off in different directions.

The three co-accused were apprehended by gardai while the fourth man managed to escape.

The three men’s clothes and bags were seized as evidence, along with a camera belonging to Diaz and phones belonging to Gallo and Espinosa. Espinosa and Gallo made no admissions during interview.

Diaz told gardai that he had travelled to Ireland for a short period, and had not intended to cause trouble. He apologised and identified his tag ‘Skab’.

A total of €12,193 in damage was caused to the four Dart carriages. Irish Rail also suffered a loss of revenue of €6,494.

The three men have not come to any recent garda attention.

Defence counsel said the men had pleaded guilty at an early date and were apologetic. The accused were each willing to forfeit bail money to compensate Irish Rail.

They have a keen interest in art and Gallo and Espinosa had received commissions in Spain, the court heard.

Defence counsel said Gallo and Espinosa moved to Ireland to learn English. Both men had lost work due to coverage of the case, but have since found alternative employment.

Oisin Clarke, BL defending, said Gallo had brought €500 in court as a sign of remorse. He also handed in a letter of apology.

Mr Clarke said this offence would be considered a misdemeanour in Spain.

Judge Codd said no real explanation had been provided for Gallo’s actions which appear to have been a “misguided and misplaced artistic endeavour”.

She said Gallo’s use of his phone was an aggravating factor, but he is a relatively young man who seemed misguided about the canvas he could use to express his talents.

Judge Codd imposed a sentence of two and a half years, suspended for the same period on the condition that Gallo keeps the peace and pays €1,200 to Irish Rail.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said Diaz apologised to the court for his foolishness. Diaz is working and had brought €500 to court.

Judge Codd said Diaz is older and “should have known better”. She noted Diaz made admissions to gardai and had been co-operative, despite initially trying to avoid arrest.

She imposed a suspended two-year sentence, on the conditions that Diaz keeps the peace and pays €2,500 to Irish Rail.

Thomas Horan BL, defending Espinosa, handed a letter of apology to the court and said Epinosa had brought €300 in compensation.

Judge Codd imposed a suspended two-year sentence on the condition that Espinosa keeps the peace. She also ordered he pay €1,700 to Irish Rail. 

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