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Elly the elephant 'didn't survive' the three vandals who attacked her overnight. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Elephant attackers appear in court

Three men alleged to have done damage at multiple locations around Thames, including destroying the well-known elephant statue outside Gastronomics restaurant, have had their first appearance in court.
The men have been charged with intentional damage (no interest) and theft under $500, and were remanded without plea until February 19.
Police initially sought a bail condition that no alcohol was to be consumed by the trio, but removed this after counsel Mark Sturm argued that a no alcohol clause would be “unjustified”, given the incident was a one-off event and there was no criminal history among the alleged offenders.
Police prosecutor Sergeant John Taaka instead put forward to Community Magistrate Ngaire Mascelle that a visitation ban be put in place to ensure the trio’s entry to Thames was limited.
“This has a high public interest, it’s all over Facebook, and there’s damage to property. I would consent to the alcohol, but I would argue that they don’t come to Thames,” he said.
“If they need to go shopping, they can do so in Paeroa.”
Mr Sturm said that non-visitation to Thames was too broad, so Sergeant Taaka recommended a curfew, telling the Thames District Court that the investigation was ongoing because there was “quite a bit of damage that evening”.
“[The defendants are] suspect for a whole raft of different damages that may be filed,” he said.
CM Mascelle agreed with a curfew, saying she understood there was a lot of “community angst over what has occurred”.
“And they’re still under the microscope for other things.”
The men will reside at their residential addresses and will be subject to a curfew at that address, commencing at 9pm and finishing at 7am. They are not to be within five metres of Gastronomics, Thames Valley Toyota, and Art Effects, or to threaten violence to any person or property.
The curfew can be reviewed at their next court appearance.
Gastronomics owner Kishan Raikwar told The Profile the past week had been “tough”.
He had been trying to source a local replacement for the elephant, named Elly, but found an option to import a similar sculpture from China. It would cost around $20,000, he said.