Artist allegedly lured students to his Sydney home before sexually assaulting them, court told

Sydney 2000

Famous street artist Anthony Lister allegedly lured and drugged “young, impressionable” art students before sexually assaulting them in his Sydney home, a court has heard.

  • Lister is accused of sexually assaulting four women aged 18 and 19
  • The 40yo is facing 18 charges including sexual assault, grievous bodily harm and drug possession
  • The street artist has been granted bail on a $20,000 deposit posted by his mother

Lister, 40, was also recorded on CCTV allegedly removing bags of what police suspect was evidence from storage units in Moore Park in late February before his arrest, Sydney’s Central Local Court was told.

The CCTV footage was captured about two weeks before Lister was charged over the alleged sexual assault of four women, in separate incidents, between 2015 and 2018.

He has been in custody since last week when NSW Police raided his Darlinghurst home and one of his studios in Marrickville.

Police prosecutor Kerry-Ann McKinnon today told the court Lister “lured” the budding artists to his house and talked them into participating in “some kind of art activity”.

“These young, impressionable women are drugged and then acts of a sexual nature occur,” she said during a bail application.

Senior Constable Sean O’Brien told the court an Instagram conversation took place on February 27 in which Lister discussed some of the allegations with a woman who police suspect was present during one of the alleged assaults.

Lister allegedly wrote: “After my art show in Wollongong I’m buying a ticket to LA stat”.

Senior Constable O’Brien said the storage units, which were rented under someone else’s name, were last accessed by Lister the same day as the Instagram conversation.

“We have CCTV of Mr Lister exiting with bags,” he told the court.

“We suspect there is further evidence. We are aware he was aware of the investigation at that time and was seen to be leaving the units with items.”

Allegations ‘extremely serious’: Magistrate

Police have already seized about 30 hard drives and a number of USB devices from the storage unit, but they are yet to be analysed.

Senior Constable O’Brien said a further two complainants would shortly be interviewed.

Lister’s barrister, Hament Dhanji SC, said none of the separate allegations against Lister were strong and they relied on the evidence of each of the complainants.

He said Lister took part in a police interview in which he denied the allegations and could not be considered a flight risk due to current travel restrictions because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Magistrate Clare Farnan said the allegations were “extremely serious” and could result in a “lengthy” full-time prison sentence.


Anthony Lister is one of the country’s most prominent artists. (Outpost Project)

Lister was granted bail on a $20,000 deposit posted by his mother, and other conditions including not to contact any witnesses.

The four original women were aged 18 or 19 at the time of the alleged offences and Lister is also accused of tattooing three lines on one of the complainants without her consent.

Lister, who was born in Brisbane, has become one the country’s most internationally-recognised artists and his work has been collected by Hugh Jackman, Pink and Pharrell Williams.

His distinctive style and tag appears not only in galleries, but many public spaces around Australia, particularly in Sydney’s inner west.

In a statement last week, Lister’s lawyers said he was “distressed and hurt” by the charges and “emphatically” denied wrongdoing.

The statement said the matter would become a test case on “the responsibilities of men and women in sexual encounters to themselves and to each other”.