What not to do…

Filed under: What Makes a Good Prank?

National Gallery of VictoriaUpdate to this story:
From AAP (Australia AP) via NEWS.com.au
April 16, 2007:

Judge Leo Hart today jailed Barnett for 15 months, with 12 months suspended for 15 months.

He said it was a “bizarre” case and that Barnett had the dual aim of getting recognition for his work and sending an anti-terrorism message.

“You’re an artist and believe yourself to be a good artist,” Judge Hart said.

“You believed that you had not been given the recognition that your work deserved and you sought to rectify this.”

Judge Hart said Barnett’s motives were not malicious but his behaviour was stupid and reckless.

He ordered Barnett to pay $6319 compensation to the police.

Original post:
From AAP via The Herald Sun
April 4, 2007:

A frustrated artist who wanted recognition for his work has pleaded guilty to creating a bomb hoax outside the National Gallery of Victoria.

Colin Douglas Barnett, 46, of suburban Cranbourne North, today pleaded guilty in the Victorian County Court to one count each of creating a bomb hoax and causing a public nuisance, and two counts of making a false report to police.

The court was told that on October 5, 2005, Barnett placed a clay vase-shaped sculpture, which he called a peace bomb, in Federation Square.

When he went back the next day, he saw it surrounded by chairs and tables, so he decided to move it to outside the National Gallery of Victoria.

Later that same day Mr Barnett made a call to Victoria Police to report a suspicious package.

The following morning on October 7, police were forced to close a section of busy St Kilda Road about 5am when the package was discovered by gallery security staff.

The bomb squad attended the scene and removed the package, which had “peace bomb” and “fragile: handle with care” written on it.

Barnett’s lawyer Sharon Kermath told the court that her client had been trying to get recognition and publicity as an artist.

“He was a frustrated artist who wanted to be recognised by the community,” Ms Kermath said.

“He wanted publicity to get into the art world,” she said.

“No major gallery was interested in his work.”

Ms Kermath said Barnett was remorseful for his actions and was “totally embarrassed” for what he did.

“The intention was to create a peace bomb because he was sick of hatred in the world,” she told the court.

“He wanted to donate the artwork (the peace bomb) to the National Gallery to represent peace.”

Prosecutor Damien Hannan told the court Barnett’s actions “caused havoc, significant disruption and alarm to the community”.

“What is clear is that the intention was to attract attention to himself,” Mr Hannan said.

“He knew it would create a disturbance.”

Mr Hannan said it was “ironic” that Barnett described his package as a peace bomb when he “caused terror” in the community.

He said a fine would be too lenient for Barnett.

“A clear message should be sent to the community that this won’t be tolerated,” Mr Hannan said.

Judge Leo Hart allowed Barnett to remain on bail pending a sentencing decision.