A good judge slams graffiti ratbag in clink overnight

Judge Tony Adeane would have been called a ‘hanging judge’ back in the day.

Yesterday he slammed a ratbag charged with graffiti offences in the clink overnight ahead of sentencing today.

Tagging the foyer of the court housing a judge known for his loathing of taggers is not the smartest thing to do.

It’s an observation Adam Kelliher might have been considering as he spent last night in a prison cell after appearing before Judge Tony Adeane in Napier District Court yesterday.

The duty solicitor for the day, James Rainger, could be seen flinching as Kelliher, 20, was called before the judge.

Rainger told the judge Kelliher wanted to plead guilty and noted that, due to “the court’s view of this type of offending, he could be at risk of prison here”.

At which point the judge asked to see a summary of Kelliher’s offending.

Rainger said: “You might want to, sir . . . well, you may not want to.”   

Adeane took a moment to read the summary before looking at Kelliher and saying: “Well, that’s not going to get a very good reception around here.”

On the afternoon of January 8, a court security guard was looking at CCTV screens and observed Kelliher lean over the balcony of the court foyer and use a sharp object to scratch words into the wall.

Rainger said he was aware of Kelliher’s predicament and he had explained this to him, and he asked that he be given a sentence of community work.

The judge replied: “With the greatest of respect, I disagree with your submissions, as you might expect.

“Anyone who comes in and graffitis this courthouse is going to get short shrift. Anyone who graffitis anything around Hawke’s Bay is going to get that. You do it here, then you’re really leading with your chin.”

He remanded Kelliher in custody overnight to be sentenced today.

An angry Kelliher was led from the dock and could be heard banging on his cell door for the next half an hour.

Now that’s what you call a Top Judge, far better than the crop of dud judges that show up in the news from time to time cuddling criminals and believing their sob stories.


– Fairfax


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  • ychiefs

    The trouble is that Tony is the exception not the norm. He’s not on any fast track for promotion. Luckily we get him quite frequently here in gissy. Always an entertaining read in the local paper when he sits.

    • peterwn

      The judge was polite to the lawyer who was just doing his job – some District Judges in past years vented their distaste of the accused on the lawyer. Incidentally the Port Fairy courthouse in Victoria (now a museum) has sound insulation in its solitary cell to deaden the prisoner’s noises. No doubt Napier District Court staff yesterday wished one of their cells was soundproofed.

      I would say that Judge Adene knows how far he can push sentencing boundaries such that an appeal against sentence is unlikely to be successful.

  • kehua

    As they used to say, breed from him , we need more like him. Welldone Judge Adeane.

    • GT

      Cloning would be a great way to solve a lot of problems with our judicial system. If we could have a couple of hundred like him on the benches around the country

  • Nebman

    I wish some of these Judges would take a similar line with some of the other miscreants out there. In particular the recidivist drunks driving on our roads.

  • Outstanding. A meaningful sentence.

    • andrew carrot

      Only held in custody prior to sentencing. He may still only get 20 hours of Community Service. Let’s wait to see what His Honour drags out of his bag of sentencing tricks.

      • Reaper

        One of his better days from a few years back:

        “By the end of proceedings, Judge Tony Adeane had sentenced two young mothers to prison – one whose baby was just three days old – put a graffiti vandal in custody, ordered a man arrested for disrupting court, and put that man’s mother into custody when she tried arguing.”


        • Momo

          What a fabulous man. I love him.

      • Disinfectant

        Another three weeks in the slammer will do fine. Thankyou Judge Adeane
        Edit: punctuation.

  • Murray Smith

    Consequences, what a novel approach when dealing with criminals.
    I like it.

  • Nige.

    Sounds like a baby who needs to be put back into his cot until he learns to grow up.

  • oldmanNZ

    only a day in jail?
    Hope his sentence would be cleaning up all the graffitties in the hot sun.
    In full overalls and orange safety outfits to protect him from sun burn.

  • The2Game

    A night in the cells, great…
    I’d have followed it up with ‘and, Mr Duty Solicitor, you seem so convinced this fellow is a good egg really, that I am remanding him to your house for a week before I pass sentence.’

  • Dave

    If only through boredom and fear of being locked up, little Adam Kelliher decides to scratch something on his Cell walls, would love him to appear for sentencing with the news, he has graffitied his cell wall. Send him away, 4 weeks in the slammer minimum, should teach the little toerag a lesson, and be a lesson to all the other little darlings out there with a spray can or sharp object.

  • Momo

    Honestly, you wouldn’t believe how awful some people are.

    I went with my sister-in-law and 2 year old nephew when they were admitted to Starship. My brother was looking after the baby (who we didn’t want anywhere near Starship due to the measles outbreak). On admission to the ward at 5pm the toys were locked up as people kept stealing them and there were police on the ward dealing with 14 year old “children” threatening other patients and families. We walked outside onto the deck to get away from everyone. To our shock, the entire wall outside was tagged.

    What sort of scumbag brings in cans and tags a children’s hospital?

    • Tom

      Nice kids from the North Shore. Oh, and Max Key.


      • Momo

        Yes. The Keys are responsible when anything negative occurs in NZ

  • The Accountant

    The muppets actions merely confirmed the Judges decision. What an absolute plonker. Welfare Dollars hard at work.

  • ozbob68

    Frankly, I’d like the Court to stencil “VANDAL” on this pricks forehead with permanent marker, and make him walk around with that for a few weeks while it wears off. Shaming is severely under-rated as a deterrent these days, mores the pity.

  • Fat Sally

    I personally know both people in this article and one of them is a complete Muppet.

    The good judge is a straight shooter and doesn’t suffer fools, he is awesome.

  • Joe_Bloggs

    The most salient point to come out of this barely rates a mention on Stuff:

    Graffiti crime in the district halved after Judge Adeane took his tough stance

    Game, set, and match to Adeane

    • sandalwood789

      Agreed – that proof (that tough sentencing *does* work) should be painted onto every MPs desk in Parliament.

  • sandalwood789

    This is the kind of scumbag that will result from Sue Bradford’s “no smacking Act”. Utter brats who have always done whatever they’ve wanted since the day they were born.

    Bring back corporal punishment to the schools.