French man told to climb every mountain, not towers

A French man has spent seven days in jail after scaling a high-rise building without safety gear.

A French man has spent seven days in jail after scaling a high-rise building without safety gear. Photos: Supplied

A French national who scaled the side of a Melbourne skyscraper without any safety gear has claimed he wasn’t seeking fame or social media followers.

Anthony Andolfo, 30, was on Tuesday convicted and sentenced in Melbourne Magistrates Court to seven days in jail, reckoned as time served, after pleading guilty over the February 6 incident.

Andolfo had climbed over a ninth-floor balcony at the Avani building on A’Beckett Street about 7.50am and began climbing without any ropes, harnesses or other safety equipment.

He made his way up to the roof of the 56-storey building where he was met by police, firefighters and paramedics.

Andolfo’s associate, 25-year-old French national Hugo Frohlinger, was filming the 26-minute climb on a drone.

But Andolfo’s lawyer Michael Haralambous told the court his client was not seeking fame or more social media followers.

“He wasn’t chasing notoriety – he was chasing the thrill,” Haralambous said on Tuesday.

“He selected the building because he wanted to climb and have that moment of tranquillity that’s only achieved by climbing at a great height.”

The lawyer said Andolfo, who has experience scaling buildings in other countries, filmed his climb to analyse his technique and share it with other climbers.

But the 30-year-old accepted he inconvenienced emergency services and members of the public, Haralambous said.

“He’s sorry to the Victorian community,” the lawyer said.

The seven-day stint behind bars was Andolfo’s first time in custody, as he was previously arrested without charge in France for scaling another building.

An added punishment was that he had to celebrate his 30th birthday in a Victorian prison cell, Haralambous said.

The lawyer submitted a substantial fine was within range for the offending but Magistrate Jonathan Klestadt queried whether a financial penalty would be left unpaid.

Klestadt also rejected the claim that Andolfo was not seeking fame, saying the 30-year-old was clearly after more than just an adrenaline high.

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

While Andolfo and members of the public were not harmed, the magistrate noted the climb could have easily resulted in serious injury or death.

Klestadt said the court needed to denounce such dangerous, risk-taking behaviour so a seven-day jail term would be imposed.

Andolfo has already served his prison term while on remand at the maximum security Port Phillip Prison.

“There are plenty of mountains in the world to climb, Mr Andolfo,” Klestadt said.

“I would suggest you restrict your climbing adventures to natural terrain.”

The 30-year-old French national will be released from custody on Tuesday afternoon.

Haralambous said Andolfo intended to leave Australia “as soon as possible” as he missed his scheduled flights to Panama while on remand.

Andolfo’s co-offender Hugo Frohlinger was last week convicted and fined $3000 for his role in the incident.


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