Rural firey charged with lighting fire in Rosedale
A VOLUNTEER firey who helped battle the devastating Deepwater blaze has faced court charged with deliberately lighting a vegetation fire in Rosedale in October.
Dominic John Pope, 24, a former Calavos Rural Fire Brigade volunteer yesterday stood in the docks of the Bundaberg Magistrates Court, watched on by his emotional family.
Defence lawyer Gavin James said Pope would plead not guilty to four charges including one count of endangering particular property by fire and three of setting fire to crops and growing plants, standing trees, saplings or shrubs.
Applying for bail on Pope's behalf, Mr James said he was an "employed person with a family" who is expecting a second child with his partner.
Mr James said he had "no fire-based charge previously".
The court heard Pope had driven in a vehicle with a GPS tracker to the areas where he allegedly lit the fire, something Mr James said would make no sense for Pope to do.
"(It would be) pointless to drive there in a vehicle with a GPS inside it, setting fires," he said.
"If so why would he be out tracking himself setting fires, knowing where he is?"
Magistrate Neil Lavaring said people had been known to "do silly things", but Pope's case came down to the evidence before the court.
"(It) seems in these fires nobody lost their lives, but it could have happened. All fires are serious," Mr Lavaring said.
Bundaberg Criminal Investigation Branch's Detective David May confirmed a 24-year-old man had been charged with setting fires along areas of the rail corridor in Rosedale.
Det May said the charges were laid after a long-running investigation following the October 10 fire.
Mr James said his client was not a risk or danger to the community, and that there were no witnesses to his alleged offence.
"There are no direct witnesses to say 'I saw him in the scrub with a lighter'," Mr James said.
Police prosecutor senior constable Grant Klassen said there were three people that claimed to have seen Pope in the area of the fire.
"Police are now compiling a brief of evidence," Sen Const Klassen said.
Mr Lavaring adjourned the matter until February 28, and released Pope on bail.