A LIVERPOOL graffiti artist who painted walls for the Biennial arts festival has been cleared of criminal damage charges.
The artist, who goes by the name of Stok, had faced jail after using a building in Roscoe Street to display his artwork.
Prosecutors at Liverpool magistrate's court argued permission was not granted for use of the city centre building, a charge that Stok always denied.
All charges relating to the property, which was not part of the Biennial festival, were dismissed at trial through lack of evidence.
Stok, who has been an artist for over 20 years, said: "The days of the blanket use of the word 'graffiti', are numbered - street art is bigger than that.
"I've never been so happy in all my life and am completely relieved at the out-come of the situation.
"This result truly is a victory for the common man."
The ECHO first featured the spray can expert in April, with arts chiefs hailing the regeneration of dowdy and derelict areas of the city through art.
Stok now plans to work alongside community based art programme The Art Organisation in preparation for next year's Biennial.
Art Organisation director Gregory Scott-Gurner said Stok now had full permission to decroate the Roscoe Street building.
He said: "Our aim is to make opportunity where opportunity may not exist.
"We work with and for local communities, with the help of local artists to change places in need of regeneration and add beauty to areas that have been left to ruin."
Stok's solicitor Jeremy Hawthorn said: "My client is pleased to have been rightfully cleared of all charges after having the case proceeding some four months.
"As a community artist it came as a great surprise that he was to be the subject of a possible criminal prosecution, which is not in the spirit of the business to which he is involved.
"I am certain if the prosecution had examined the case thoroughly the case would not have been brought."
No-one from building owners Frenson's was available for comment.
Graffiti - have your say on graffiti/ street art. Any pics to share?