Anthony Andolfo: French daredevil freed after scaling Melbourne CBD building

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A French daredevil will return home after he learned his fate for free-climbing a skyscraper in Melbourne’s CBD.

Anthony Andolfo returned before the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, pleading guilty to reckless conduct endangering serious injury and trespassing.

The court was told Andolfo spent his 30th birthday in a Melbourne prison, after he was arrested for scaling the building on the corner of A’Beckett and Elizabeth streets on Tuesday last week.

He began the ascent about 7am from a balcony on the 9th floor and was met by police, firefighters and paramedics as he reached the rooftop shortly before 9am.

Approached by media as he was led from the building, Andolfo responded “because I can”, when asked why he performed the dangerous feat.

The court was told he has a “history” of scaling buildings without safety equipment and posting the climbs on social media.

In court, his lawyer Michael Haralambous said it was Andolfo’s first time in custody anywhere in the world, an experience he said was “quite stressful”.

“He was arrested previously for scaling a building by French police and released without charge after 30 minutes,” he said.

Mr Haralambous said Andolfo has spent the past 12 months on a working holiday and touring around Australia in a van.

The court heard he had planned to leave the country the following day.

He said Andolfo “regrets” his actions and was sorry to the Victorian community for the expense of the emergency response to his act.

Handing down his sentence, Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt rejected Andolfo’s claim he didn’t perform the stunt to gain notoriety.

“The presence of an accomplice who filmed your behaviour, in my view, shows it was for the purpose, at least in part, of self promotion, self-aggrandisement and the enhancement of your reputation among people who engage in similar risk taking behaviour,” he said.

“It is risk-taking, the consequences of which cannot be ignored… the court must absolutely denounce this type of behaviour.”

Mr Klestadt also rejected the defence argument Andolfo should receive a “substantial fine”, saying his plan to leave Australia meant it was “extremely unlikely” the fine would ever be paid.

Andolfo was sentenced to seven days imprisonment, recognised as time served, and told he would be freed later today.

The court was told it was unlikely Andolfo will be able to return to Australia given his conviction.

In a parting message, Mr Klestadt advised him to “restrict your climbing adventures to natural terrain”.

Last Tuesday, Hugo Frohlinger, 25, was fined $3000 after pleading guilty to public nuisance for filming the climb with a drone.

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