Hospital's gun panic

A MAN who sent Bundaberg Hospital into mass panic with a gun-shaped cigarette lighter was refused bail in court yesterday.

Brenton Adrian Michael Hodgson, 40, appeared in Bundaberg Magistrates Court charged with carrying an exposed weapon in a public place.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Barry Stevens said Hodgson went to the hospital on Thursday and became agitated when he was not seen to.

Hodgson told police he was at the hospital to receive a rabies injection.

Hospital staff saw the silver and black gun-shaped lighter and believed the weapon was real.

The hospital was then locked down.

Sgt Stevens said on arrival at the hospital, police were told Hodgson had left the premises and was waiting outside with the lighter “worn in such a way that people would think it was a handgun”.

The hospital returned to usual operations after Hodgson was arrested.

The court was told the lighter was bought from a camping supplies store in Bundaberg.

Sgt Stevens described the lighter as being gun shaped, with a silver and black handle, with the lighting mechanism near the rear sight.

He said Hodgson had been fined in May 2009 for a breach of probation and had an extensive criminal history dating back to 2006, including charges of public nuisance, possession of a syringe and cruelty to animals.

Magistrate John Smith refused Hodgson’s bail, saying he appeared to present a danger to the public.

Hodgson will reappear in the magistrates court on Monday morning.



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