Orange Bakehouse fire accused denied bail in court

THE 14-year-old boy accused of setting fire to Orange Bakehouse on Thursday night has been formally refused bail in Orange Children’s Court.

The boy, who cannot be named, faced court via video link charged with two counts of malicious damage by fire.

Aboriginal Legal Service solicitor Nidal Abdi applied for bail, saying his client could live with his mother in Cumnock or Life Without Barriers in Orange.

He also said a curfew could be applied and the boy was prepared to report to Orange police daily.

“He’s got a real desire to go to school – he’s been going this term and it’s a new thing, but it’s certainly a very positive thing,” he said.

“Those conditions provide enough protection for the community – there could be an added condition that [the child] remain at the address unless accompanied by someone at Life Without Barriers or attending school.”

Mr Abdi said his client had no previous record and asked magistrate Terry Lucas not to set him up to fail through onerous conditions.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Beau Riley opposed bail, saying by lighting fires, the boy posed an unacceptable risk.

“No one was injured and there was only property damage, but this was a very serious incident that could have been very dangerous,” he said.

“Even if there was a guarantee he won’t be out by himself without a chance to light fires, I would still oppose bail.”

Sergeant Riley told the court the damage was estimated at between $500,000 and $1 million.

Mr Lucas said housing the boy with his mother was not a realistic possibility.

“Quite simply, there are unacceptable risks endangering the safety of the community,” he said.

The boy will appear in court next month.