ONCE BITTEN ... After being caught spray painting a train, Cooper Crosthwaite suffered severe police dog bites that put him in hospital.
ONCE BITTEN ... After being caught spray painting a train, Cooper Crosthwaite suffered severe police dog bites that put him in hospital. Ross Irby

Spray painter left mark on train before dog left its mark

THE LAW took a chunk out of more than just the pride of a young graffiti artist after he was caught red-handed tagging an Ipswich train.

A court was told Cooper Crosthwaite suffered deep bites from a police dog that required hospital treatment.

Ipswich Magistrates Court was told the police dog was only called in after Crosthwaite, 22, tried to run from police, who lay in wait for him at Rosewood station on April 26.

Defence lawyer Terry O'Gorman said the bites were so severe that Crosthwaite spent three days in hospital.

Mr O'Gorman suggested that this initial punishment be taken into account by the magistrate in sentencing.

Cooper John Crosthwaite this week pleaded guilty to wilful damage by graffiti; trespass; and obstructing police.

The court was told he has a strong interest in street art with an online site, and offered professional mural services.

Prosecutor Acting Sergeant Bernard Elmore said the incident took place at 4.30am when Crosthwaite and another male, who the court was told police were still trying to locate, entered the secure yards at Rosewood train station.

The police dog squad patrol observed the two males take spray cans out of a green bag and cover half a train carriage in graffiti.

Sgt Elmore said orange and green paint was used to spray the words "Fresh Roast" in one-metre tall letters across a 15m section of the carriage.

The suspects photographed their work, then began walking back along the tracks.

The court was told that despite being ordered to stop and warned several times, the young males attempted to run off. The police dog was then released and caught up to and restrained Crosthwaite, who was bitten on the scalp, arm and back. His co-offender fled the scene.

A black Sony camera was dropped and 18 cans of paint found in a green bag, the court was told.

Sgt Elmore said rail squad officers later searched Crosthwaite's house and found 280 cans of spray paint.

Police sought for Crosthwaite to pay half the cost of the damage in restitution, or $2854, and asked that he be subject to a graffiti removal order.

Mr O'Gorman submitted photos of Crosthwaite's injuries and post-surgery photos along with a medical report from Ipswich Hospital.

He said Crosthwaite travelled interstate for work and ran an online business website called Blackline Creative, where he "channels into legal form his interest in street art".

Mr O'Gorman said Crosthwaite accepted that his actions on the day concerned were illegal.

"The experience of being savaged by a police dog has pulled him away from that area," he said.

"He recognises as a result of this experience that it is not on.

"He offers his mural services to businesses who have walls, public space they want to adorn."

Crosthwaite instructed that he had since removed himself from the street culture scene.

Mr O'Gorman said the police dog squad had been lying in wait because Rosewood was apparently known as being a common target for vandals.

"The bites are very significant. Over parts of the upper body, shoulder and parts of his head," he said.

"There were multiple puncture wounds when bitten by the police dog."

He had sought police body-worn camera footage of the incident but told there was none.

Mr O'Gorman said Crosthwaite had been in considerable pain and spent three days in hospital before self-discharging.

Magistrate Kurt Fowler fined Crosthwaite $750, ordered him to pay restitution of $2854, and complete 10 hours of graffiti removal work.

No conviction was recorded.

Mr Fowler told Crosthwaite he did himself a great disservice and had put his own reputation at risk.