UP IN FLAMES: St Mary's Catholic Church ablaze. Photo: Marie McAneney
UP IN FLAMES: St Mary's Catholic Church ablaze. Photo: Marie McAneney

St Mary’s church fire: Alleged arsonist to stay behind bars

THE man charged with allegedly setting the St Mary's Church on fire earlier this year will spend more time behind bars after being refused bail.

Jeffrey Michael Baker is facing multiple charges including arson and attempted arson.

Baker appeared in court via videolink from the Maryborough Correctional Centre.

It is alleged Baker went to the St Mary's Catholic Church in the early hours of February 11 where he gathered combustible material at the back of the building before using a cigarette lighter to set it on fire.

The building sustained significant damage and had to be demolished.

 

Fire crews on site after the St Mary’s Catholic Church fire in February. Photo: Brian Cassidy
Fire crews on site after the St Mary’s Catholic Church fire in February. Photo: Brian Cassidy

 

It is further alleged Baker went to the Hinkler Seventh Day Adventist Church and broke in.

He then allegedly gathered some combustible material and tried to set it alight but the fire did not take off.

Baker allegedly made admissions to the St Mary's church fire when he was arrested by police.

The court heard Baker was on a notice to appear for other offences at the time.

Baker's lawyer Rian Dwyer told the court the application was previously adjourned so more information could be obtained about his client's mental health.

Mr Dwyer told the court Baker has schizophrenia and was medicated at the time of the offending, but was also mixing the medication with illicit drug use.

 

Fire crews on site after the St Mary’s Catholic Church fire in February. Photo: Brian Cassidy
Fire crews on site after the St Mary’s Catholic Church fire in February. Photo: Brian Cassidy

 

He said since being in custody, Baker had stopped taking drugs and learnt how to eat properly.

Mr Dwyer said if Baker was granted bail he would live at the address provided to the court and was willing to abide by a curfew.

He said Baker was also willing to get a mental health plan in place.

Magistrate Andrew Moloney took into account the material before the court and the submissions made by Mr Dwyer.

Mr Moloney also took into account Baker had a criminal history and had received imprisonment in the past.

Bail was refused and the matter will be heard again on August 13.

 



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