Activist fights graffiti charge

The 'offence' for which Langford has been ordered to pay $400.

Stephen Langford said he would not pay a fine imposed by Downing Centre Local Court on May 14 for writing a message about how Australia tortures refugees on a commercial billboard.

On August 14, 2019, Langford used liquid chalk to write: “Sorry to bully innocent people in concentration camps for six years. But that’s Australia.”

“I refuse to pay the $400 penalty”, Langford told Green Left. “The real victims, the targets of the government’s human rights violations, were not represented in court.

“We need the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, which Australia signed, to be enforced”, Langford added.

Commenting on the aggravated graffiti charge, Langford’s lawyer Mark Davis said outside the court that Australia’s freedom of speech protection was “very weak”.

Langford is facing a separate charge for glueing an A4-sized poster to a statue of Lachlan Macquarie in Hyde Park which gave details of the NSW governor’s massacre of at least 14 Aboriginal people at Appin in 1816.