Jarrod Grech, 35, faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday, where he pleaded guilty to one charge of criminal damage over a tribute he painted on a Carlton wall in March.
The court heard Grech did not seek permission from the owner of the building, which he believed had been abandoned for more than a decade, before painting the mural on its wall.
His lawyer Ben Watson said Grech had learnt his lesson and accepted he should have asked for consent from the owner.
Prosecutors withdrew all other criminal charges and told the court they were not seeking for Grech to pay any restitution over the criminal damage.
Magistrate Olivia Trumble found the charge proven, but decided to allow Grech to walk free without conviction or penalty. She warned him to make sure he obtains consent in the future.
“As incredible as your artwork might be, you don’t have the right to place it on whatever wall you feel,” she said.
“Keep channelling your creativity in good ways, maybe teach others to paint the way you paint.”
Warne’s children submitted a letter in support of Grech to the court, where they said he wanted to do something nice by painting their father in his hometown of Melbourne.
“In all discussions we’ve had with Jarrod, he has been decent and a lovely person with the utmost respect for authority,” the letter said.
“Based on personal dealings with him, he’s displayed remorse for not being diligent enough in checking more where he painted this mural of dad.
“He honestly believed, given it was a vacant house, there would be no issue and he was doing the community a favour.”
Outside court, Grech said he was currently painting two big canvasses of the Warne street mural, which has since been painted over.
One of the paintings will be donated to charity and the other he will give to the Warne family.
He said he was disappointed with Victoria Police’s decision to pursue the charges, but was very happy with the magistrate’s decision not to penalise him.
“It was my way of expressing grief and when Shane died everyone in Australia felt it so I was disappointed to hear the police were pursuing to charge me, but I guess they were just doing their job,” he told AAP.
He said the building attached to the wall had been abandoned for more than 10 years, and he had struggled to get in contact with the owner.
“Every time it was vandalised I’d spray it back myself to the original colour and do a new one,” he said.