Friends of accused arsonist Shane Stickland were allowed to drive behind Mackay Courthouse to collect him from the watchhouse after he received bail.
Friends of accused arsonist Shane Stickland were allowed to drive behind Mackay Courthouse to collect him from the watchhouse after he received bail. Daily Mercury

Police find arson accused asleep in Glenella park

A MACKAY man found by police sleeping in a Glenella park after a suspicious fire destroyed a Mount Pleasant family home has been charged with arson and granted bail.

Shane Thomas Stickland, 29, appeared in custody before Mackay Magistrates Court charged with wilfully setting fire to the house in the early hours of January 10, and setting fire to personal belongings situated near a building likely to catch fire.

Stickland is also charged with two counts of contravening a domestic violence order.

He's also charged with possession of explosives - shotgun primers.

Police prosecutor Constable Duncan Erskine opposed bail, saying it was an unacceptable risk and that the accused could interfere with witnesses and, if convicted, would likely face a jail sentence.

Const Erskine said Stickland had been seen at the house earlier on the night of the fire and when later found by police in the park had a cigarette lighter and shotgun primers.

A Mount Pleasant home was destroyed by fire.
A Mount Pleasant home was destroyed by fire. Peter Holt

Duty Lawyer Chris Schrader said his client had made no admissions and, although the Crown case indicated some missed phone calls had been made on his phone to a telephone belonging to a woman, there was no indication of any threats.

Mr Schrader did not elaborate or say if the number belonged to a woman who was living at the Mount Pleasant home.

Mr Schrader said Stickland had been at the Tolcher St home previously, when family members were there.

"He was sleeping under a tree (when found by police). He is homeless but has previously been approved to live at Ozcare."

Mr Schrader called it "a weak prosecution case" with circumstantial evidence.

However, Const Erskine disagreed, saying there were witnesses to Stickland's behaviour immediately before the incident.

Mr Schrader said his client was not seen lighting the fire and there was no evidence pointing to him having lit the fire.

Magistrate Ross Risson said he was entitled to receive bail unless the prosecution could show he was an unacceptable risk and there was nothing to show he would fail to appear at court or endanger the welfare of the public.

He granted Stickland conditional bail to live at Ozcare and report weekly to Mackay police.

The case was adjourned to February 9.



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