A court has heard why a young man ripped crosses to commemorate fallen soldiers from the ground near a war memorial.
A court has heard why a young man ripped crosses to commemorate fallen soldiers from the ground near a war memorial.

Dumb reason man vandalised memorial

A young man who ripped crosses from the ground near Adelaide's National War Memorial was so drunk at the time he has no memory of the incident, a court has heard.

Lachlan Reece Armstrong, 23, was approached by police after security footage captured a group taking crosses from North Terrace about 1.30am on November 10 last year.

A prosecutor told the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Tuesday Armstrong dropped the crosses when he saw the officers, then tried to hide behind a statue.

He and two others were arrested, police said, while the crosses were found dug up, bent and broken.

They had been set-up as part of the RSL's Field of Remembrance, which is erected each year to commemorate fallen soldiers.

Police vowed to protect the crosses after they were vandalised in the lead-up to Remembrance Day. Picture: Supplied
Police vowed to protect the crosses after they were vandalised in the lead-up to Remembrance Day. Picture: Supplied

Appearing in court by video-link from prison, Armstrong pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly behaviour.

He agreed he was drunk at the time and said "I forgot it" when asked whether he remembered what he did.

Magistrate Alfio Grasso recorded a conviction against him but imposed no other penalty.

"Given that he was so intoxicated that he doesn't remember and he's in custody on other matters, I'll convict him without further penalty," he said.

He ordered that Armstrong, of Pukatja in the state's far north, pay a prosecution fee and a levy.

A second man, a 46-year-old from Alice Springs, was let off with an adult caution from police, while a warrant remains outstanding for the third man, a 19-year-old of no fixed address who failed to attend court in January.

After the vandalism was discovered, police protected the crosses until Remembrance Day, November 11.

RSL commemorations manager Keith Harrison said the memorial had been targeted by vandals in previous years, but 2020 was the worst he had experienced.

He said dozens of crosses were damaged on five separate occasions across a nine-day period.

For generations, military veterans and schoolchildren have planted the white crosses near the National War Memorial on North Terrace in the lead-up to Remembrance Day.

Originally published as Dumb reason man vandalised memorial

Dozens of memorial crosses at the RSL’s Field of Remembrance near the National War Memorial were vandalised, commemorations manager Keith Harrison said. Picture: Supplied
Dozens of memorial crosses at the RSL’s Field of Remembrance near the National War Memorial were vandalised, commemorations manager Keith Harrison said. Picture: Supplied

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