Man tells police he mistook firecracker for cigarette
A MAN caught on CCTV throwing a firecracker across the balcony of a Gladstone nightclub told police he had mistakenly lit it thinking it was a cigarette, Gladstone Magistrates Court was told yesterday.
While the excuse sounded more like a Looney Tunes plot than a legal defence, that was Dale Douglas Simpson's story, and he and his lawyer were sticking to it.
Simpson, 30, pleaded guilty to possessing explosives without authority and to committing a public nuisance within a licensed premises following the August 18 incident.
His lawyer Jun Pepito said his client was in the balcony smoking area at Industrie on Goondoon St at 11.25pm when he reached into his pocket for a cigarette, mistakenly lit the firecracker, and threw it across the balcony when he realised his error.
"It was a knee-jerk reaction," Mr Pepito said.
He asked acting magistrate Jason Schubert not to record a conviction because Simpson was looking to travel to the United Kingdom for work and a criminal conviction would make that difficult.
Prosecutor Joel Sleep said Simpson had initially denied any knowledge of the event when he was spoken to by police, but soon changed his story to include the cigarette.
Mr Sleep said CCTV footage showed the firecracker had narrowly missed two women.
"One witness told police the bang could be heard from the carpark outside," he said.
Mr Schubert said the explanation Simpson had given was "rather unbelievable", but chose not to record a conviction based on his otherwise good character.
He instead ordered Simpson pay a $400 fine.
Th-th-th-that's all, folks.