A Porirua man has been arrested and charged over what he called a "harmless prank" - putting green dye in a water feature outside the Supreme Court.
John Creser, 62, was protesting outside the Wellington courthouse in March with a group of 30-40 people who had taken issue with some of the judgements and processes of the Supreme Court or justice system.
The group were peaceful, non-violent protesters, he said.
He added the non-toxic dye to the water the night before to symbolise "the murky waters of justice".
The water feature is a shallow, moat-like pool surrounding half of the complex.
During the protest, someone came to clean out the feature, and Creser said he joked with the man about what colour he'd prefer next time.
It wasn't until Tuesday this week, while Creser was continuing to protest outside the nearby Law Society building, that four police officers showed up and arrested him on a charge of wilful damage.
He told the Herald the dye was of a type widely used by councils to check for leaks in pipes and other such things, and that it caused no damage to the water feature.
"It's a harmless prank that caused nobody any real cost. It could have been cleaned up with a hose in 20 minutes."
Creser slammed the charge as "ridiculous" and said he would have preferred if the court had simply sent him a bill for the clean up.
"I have done no damage to any public, private or other property."
He said this case was an example of court staff "behaving like childish bullies".
According to the Summary Offences Act 1981, a person is liable for a prison term up to three months or a fine up to $2000 if they intentionally damage any property. The legislation does not define what constitutes damage.
Creser's protest relates to inconsistencies in court documents from some years ago. The Court of Appeal recognised in a decision from 2015 that "some form of error" appeared to have occurred in the document, but declined to correct it.
He has made a number of appeal and recall applications to the various courts over the years.
Police confirmed they arrested and charged a 62-year-old man with wilful damage, and he will appear in the Wellington District Court on Friday.
It's not the first time a Wellington water feature has been involved in a wilful damage case.
Self-styled daredevil Hunter Macdonald was sentenced to community work after he decided to practice some impromptu gymnastics on the Len Lye Water Whirler on the waterfront.
Macdonald was filmed climbing the pole of the sculpture until it bent over and snapped, sending him plummeting into the water.
Defence lawyer Carrie Parkin said he suffered a "substantial brain injury" when the pole came down on his head.
It's also not the first time someone has added dye or some other substance to a water feature, with such acts occurring semi-regularly around the country's various fountains and pools.
Last year the Mission Bay fountain in Auckland was closed to the public after someone added red dye or cordial to the water. Meanwhile a mystery foamer is on the loose in Napier, with the Manga Pacific Fountain outside Napier Aquarium regularly ending up full of foamy bubbles which the council must then clean up.