The Irpinsky City Court passed a verdict in the case of volunteer Serhii Dovhy, who organized a group of people who cut off the graffiti of the British street artist Banksy’s “Woman in a gas mask” from the wall of a destroyed house in Gostomel.
Judge Yana Shestopalova pronounced the verdict at the meeting on November 17, “Grata” reports. The court found Dovhy guilty and sentenced him to five years in prison, but released him from serving the sentence with a probationary period of three years.
The prosecutor’s office accused Dovhoy of “completed attempted theft on a particularly large scale in the conditions of martial law.” For this, he was threatened with imprisonment from 7 to 12 years with confiscation of property.
Immediately after receiving the suspicion, Dovhiy pleaded not guilty. “I am outraged by the wording “secret abduction”. Everything happened in the morning, from 10 to 11 o’clock, in an open area, civilians and military were passing by. In addition, videographers filmed the process on two cameras“, he explained then.
|Serhiy Dovhy, December 11, 2022. Photo: Maksym Kamenev, Grate
However, within a few months, he pleaded guilty, took full responsibility and entered into a deal with the investigation, which resulted in him receiving a suspended sentence.
The court also decided to collect from Dovhy the cost of the art examination – 13,592 hryvnias.
After the verdict was announced, Dovhiy admitted that he had done the wrong thing by cutting down the graffiti, but believes that it gave impetus to Banksy’s works in Ukraine from abroad.
Failed Banksy abduction
On December 2, 2022, National Police officers detained eight people on the territory of the military town in Gostomel. They cut the graffiti of the world-famous artist Banksy from the house, already wrapped the work in film and were preparing to load it into a pickup truck. Among them was the Ukrainian artist from Cherkasy Oleksandr Duvinskyi. He insisted that his participation in cutting down Banksy’s graffiti was not a performance, but a rescue. Duvinsky was helped by an acquaintance, and a videographer and a cameraman filmed this process on video. Three more volunteers came with Duvinsky out of curiosity and watched the process.
On the same day, the prosecutor’s office notified a Kyiv resident of the suspicion, who dismantled Banksy’s “Woman in a Gas Mask” graffiti. He was Sergey Dovgyi.
At the same time, the head of the capital police, Andriy Nebitov, commented on the failed kidnapping: “Banksy’s graffiti, which they tried to steal in Gostomel, was valued at 9 million. Thanks to the care of citizens, the police and security forces arrested the perpetrators. Now the suspect faces up to 12 years in prison.”
|Graffiti “Woman in a gas mask”
Banksy’s work was seized from the perpetrators and sent for forensic art examination. According to its results, the investigators planned to clarify the qualifications of the criminal proceedings.
On December 30, volunteer Serhii Dovhy was informed of the suspicion, because the investigation established that he was the one who came up with the idea of cutting Banksy’s graffiti and organized the kidnapping. Dovgiy assured the artist Duvinsky that he had all the necessary permits.
|This is what the wall looked like after Banksy’s work was cut down
Later, Dovhiy said that he wanted to sell the cut graffiti in order to buy cars for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Read also: Leave it as it is or transfer it to the museum: what to do with Banksy’s works in the Kyiv region?