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Court throws out cat graffiti case

RATP damages claim is rejected after lawyer hails M. le Chat’s work as ‘art’ not vandalism

A PARIS court has thrown out a €1,800 damages claim against graffiti artist M. Le Chat who said his paintings on walls of Châtelet-Les Halles station had helped “humanise” the site during unsightly building works.

M. le Chat, real name Thoma Vuille, had been chased by transport agency RATP for damages for painting his well-known cat character on walls at the Metro and RER interchange.

However, the Tribunal Correctionnel de Paris threw out the claim, after claims from his lawyer that the charges against Mr Vuille were confused and contradictory and that he did not know exactly what crime he was supposed to have committed or even what type of penalty he faced.

The RATP had accused him of drawing “cat heads” on the walls of the aptly-named Châtelet-Les Halles station “without authorisation” but his lawyer told the court he was an artist and had caused no damage.

“He simply painted cats on walls that were going to be covered up by the RATP and which were later covered as work continued. My client is not a delinquent – he’s an artist.”

During the case M. Le Chat had received support from numerous politicians, including Jérôme Coumet, the mayor of the 13th arrondissement. Mr Coumet said he welcomes street art on buildings – and M. Le Chat is just finishing his latest cat work in the district’s Rue de la Glacière.
Photo: LoveBoat - CC-by-3.0

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