Relative of Brian Tamaki pleads guilty to painting over Auckland rainbow crossing

The 31-year-old man, accused of intentionally damaging an Auckland rainbow pedestrian crossing by painting it white, has pleaded guilty.

Ford O’Connor appeared in Auckland District Court alongside a full house of supporters, including his grandfather-in-law Brian Tamaki of Destiny Church, nearly three weeks after the act of vandalism.

He pleaded guilty to a charge of intention of damaging the Karangahape Rd rainbow crossing.

If convicted, O’Connor could face a maximum of three months’ imprisonment or a fine of $2000.

He has been ordered to pay $16,093.84 in reparations for the clean up. Police are still finalising the cost of having the crossing repainted.

Destiny Church leader, Tamaki, spoke to media outside the Auckland District Court ahead of O’Connor’s appearance on Monday morning saying he was proud of what the accused had done.

O’Connor is married to Tamaki’s eldest granddaughter.

The father-of-four surrendered himself to police custody, and had no previous charges.

“It wasn’t an act directed against the LGBT community,” his lawyer said. Rather, he had been trying to draw attention to an issue facing his community.

“Regrettably, he turned to criminal offending to make that message known.”

Last week, police said they had made an arrest over the act, which they previously were treating as a “hate crime”.

A post shared to Reddit around 4am on March 28 showed the road outside St Kevin’s Arcade coated in wet white paint.

Police said the crossing had been vandalised around 3.20am.

CCTV from the area showed images of people, who had their faces concealed, that were thought to be involved, along with images of a white car which had its registration plates removed.

O’Connor was the driver of the vehicle. He and one of his associates vandalised the crossing while another filmed.

The same day the vandalism occurred, police searched a Flat Bush property believed to be linked to the owners of the vehicle.

- Stuff