Four men who claimed they were called on by God to damage a war memorial have now answered to the power of the Queensland courts.
James Joseph Dowling, Andrew William Paine, Tim Webb and Franz Dowling were all found guilty yesterday in the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court of wilful damage, for vandalising a stone cross at the Toowong Cemetery on Ash Wednesday.
Ringleader James Dowling was given a three-month wholly suspended sentence and ordered to undertake 100 hours of community service.
He was also ordered to pay restitution of half of the $17,812 in damage.
Webb, who said he turned a “symbol of death into a symbol of life” when he hammered the sword into a plough, received 100 hours of community service and was ordered to pay the remaining restitution.
Paine, who alerted the media of the deed, received a $1500 fine, while Franz Dowling, who sang hymns while they took the sword down, was fined
During the trial the men argued they had been given permission from God to remove the sword, and had in fact improved the memorial by doing so.
But the act was condemned by Chief Magistrate Ray Rinaudo, who delivered guilty verdicts immediately after hearing closing submissions from both parties. AAP