Xiaoran Shi, a staffer for NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, has been convicted and fined for spray painting a statue of Captain Cook in Sydney’s Hyde Park, amid Black Lives Matter protests last month.
CCTV footage from the night of June 14 showed the 28-year-old spray painting slogans like “no pride in genocide” and “sovereignty never ceded” on the base of the statue, as a friend stood by and kept watch. The pair were arrested a short time later.
She appeared in Downing Centre Local Court yesterday, and was fined a total of $1760 for wilfully damaging or defacing a protected place and possessing a graffiti implement.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Michael Allen described Xiaoran Shi as thoughtful, articulate and intelligent and said that she clearly “feels passionately” about the centuries-long struggle of indigenous Australians.
He also read out a series of “abhorrent” messages that she received in the wake of her arrest, which included racial abuse.
He said, however, that “there is no place – even in a liberal democracy such as ours – for people who are prepared to cross the line from lawful conduct to illegal conduct” and that the sentence was intended to send a message to other “would-be offenders”.
In a statement, Shi said:
“The real crime is that nobody has ever been convicted for the 438 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991. Just three days ago, a 19-year-old Noongar man died in Acacia Prison in Western Australia. What the media should be focusing on is justice for this Noongar man, for Tane Chatfield, whose coronial inquest ends today, and for every other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who has died in custody.”