A Canadian woman who was arrested in northern Thailand for spraying paint an ancient wall has avoided jail time, but must still pay a substantial fine for her actions.
Brittney Schneider, who is from Grande Prairie, Alta., was arrested along with a British man in mid-October after they sprayed the walls of the Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai.
They were charged with vandalizing an ancient artifact and faced a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine equivalent to about $40,000 in Canadian funds.
Schneider, who is 22, tells CTV News her sentence was initially reduced to one year in prison and a financial penalty of around $4,000 before the judge ruled no jail time, but kept the fine in place.
Schneider does not yet know when she can return home.
She says she must wait for the court to send papers to immigration authorities stating that her case is closed and that she is no longer blacklisted.
“Honestly I’m so relieved, I’m so happy and I am beyond thankful that the judge showed so much compassion for us,” Schneider said.
“Actually a lot of people I’ve met in Thailand showed a lot of compassion even though it was their wall I vandalized. They still were so nice to me and were so worried about me.”
Schneider was in the city of Chiang Mai on Oct. 18 when she said she and some others got “ridiculously drunk.” They started to walk back to their hostel, but came across a bottle of spray paint and picked it up.
Security camera footage shows Schneider and Furlong Lee, 23, spraying paint on the wall — part of a 13th-century structure that forms a square around Chiang Mai’s inner city.
Schneider said after they sprayed the wall, they headed to the hostel and went to sleep but were arrested the next morning and taken to the police station where they spent the night before making a court appearance.
She said following her arrest that she was “terrified” for her life and was “so sorry” for what she did. Lee reportedly received the same sentence.
(CTV, The Canadian Press)
The Canadian Press