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Judge tells unemployed Extinction Rebellion protester — a volunteer tree planter — to get a job to pay for vandalizing war memorial


'There's no reason I'm told you could not get employment. You're going to need to find some work to pay this off.'

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A United Kingdom judge told an unemployed Extinction Rebellion protester — who doubles as a volunteer tree planter — to get a job so he can pay the fine for vandalizing a memorial to the women of World War II in London, Yahoo News UK reported.

Joseph O'Malley, 33, spray-painted "mother" on the bronze sculpture during a climate-change demonstration last November, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard on Tuesday, the outlet said.

The Monument to the Women of World War II memorializes millions of British women who signed up for the armed services and worked in factories to help battle the Nazis, the outlet added.

What are the details?

O'Malley was described as sporting a beard, loose-fitting clothes, a wooden beaded necklace, and ripped-open shoes when he was found guilty of criminal damage to property under £5,000 (about $6,400), the court heard, according to Yahoo News UK.

District Judge Richard Blake said O'Malley's stunt "wasn't protest, it was just vandalism," the outlet noted.

"The manner in which you attacked this memorial was a senseless expression of the word 'mother,'" Blake told O'Malley, Yahoo News UK reported. "For some reason on this protest you involved yourself in hooliganism and vandalism. It was senseless. I fail to see how defacing a significant monument which recognizes the role of women in our society, for too many decades overlooked, in overcoming the tyranny of Nazism, how defacing this memorial can in any way further the cause of those who seek to bring to our attention concerns about climate change."

'You're going to need to find some work to pay this off'

The judge ordered O'Malley to pay a £500 fine, a £50 victim surcharge, and £200 costs, the outlet said. The total is about $965.

"There's no reason I'm told you could not get employment," Blake added to the guilty party, the outlet said. "You're going to need to find some work to pay this off."

What did O'Malley's lawyer have to say?

"His intention wasn't to damage that memorial," O'Malley's attorney, Chantel Gaber, said, according to Yahoo News UK. "It wasn't intended to cause offense. It was impulsive during the march. There was no long-term damage. The damage was temporary and minimal."

Gaber also said her client was jobless and did volunteer tree-planting for a group called Fellowship of the Trees, the outlet said.

It was noted in court that O'Malley's spray-painted vandalism remained on the sculpture for about two months, and it wasn't possible to get a precise figure for the cost of removing it, the outlet noted.

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