French tourist, 22, ‘didn’t know he was desecrating a war memorial’ when he urinated on the wall of a building in Sydney’s Hyde Park – and apologises to ‘any soldiers’ he offended
- Brice Blanchard, 22, needed to go to the toilet while drinking in Hyde Park
- He walked over to the first building he saw – the wall of the Sydney war memorial
- Security caught him on CCTV and jogged over just as he zipped up his fly
- Blanchard was profusely apologetic when police explained what he’d done
A French tourist claims he didn’t know he was urinating on a war memorial when he relieved himself in Sydney’s Hyde Park.
Brice Blanchard, 22, had just arrived in Australia and was drinking in the park with friends from his hostel on the night of December 10.
He was caught in the act on CCTV about 9.50pm and security guards jogged over just as he was zipping up his fly, and called police.
French tourist Brice Blanchard, 22, claims he didn’t know he was urinating on a war memorial when he relieved himself in Sydney’s Hyde Park
Blanchard waited with security and was ‘apologetic’ when officers took him to the station and explained what he’d done, court documents stated.
‘I was walking along and urinated on the wall, I didn’t know what the building was. I just got to Australia two days ago, I’m from France,’ he told police.
The backpacker, in Australia on a two-year work visa, pleaded guilty to committing an offensive act on a war memorial in Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday.
Looking disheveled in faded blue jeans and a creased denim shirt and clutching a small orange bag, he apologised to the court through an interpreter.
He was allowed to walk free on a nine-month conditional release order with no fine or conviction recorded.
The magistrate accepted that Blanchard wasn’t aware of the shrine’s significance and said the offence caused by urinating on it would be similar to if it was the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
‘Like the French, we respect the fallen and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the past,’ he said.
‘That’s why war memorials are sacred to Australians. If you are still here in April you will see just how sacred they are on Anzac Day.’
He was caught urinating on the eastern wall of the shrine on CCTV and security guards jogged over just as he was zipping up his fly, and called police
Blanchard was allowed to walk free on a nine-month conditional release order with no fine or conviction recorded
Blanchard explained to Daily Mail Australia outside court that he was drinking with friends from the Mad Monkey Hostel in Kings Cross
Feeling the need to relieve himself, he walked over to the eastern wall of the memorial and urinated.
‘It was the first building I saw, I had no idea it was a war memorial as I only just arrived in Australia,’ he said.
‘I’m very sorry and didn’t mean to offend soldiers or anyone else in Australia. If I’d known it was a war memorial I’d never have done it. I feel very guilty.’
Blanchard admitted he couldn’t even blame intoxication for his mistake as he’d only had two beers, and was merely ignorant.
He said he was not aware of much of Australia’s contribution to World War I and had learned a lot in the past few weeks.
More than 46,000 Australian soldiers died fighting on the Western Front in trenches running through Blanchard’s country, and another 124,000 were wounded.
The young tourist said he planned to stay in Australia for a year and the legal run-in wouldn’t affect his trip – though he would be far more careful where he peed in future.