Matters against two co-accused with a suspected link to a break-in and subsequent fire at historic St Barnabas’ Church have been adjourned to May 12 in Bathurst Local Court.
Before the court yesterday was Shane Joseph Wackett, formerly of Victoria, and 34-year-old Patrick Johns of Aroo Street, South Bathurst.
Both have had bail refused and will remain in custody.
Last week Johns was charged with deliberately setting fire to the historic St Barnabas’ Church in South Bathurst on February 23.
He had earlier been charged with aggravated break and enter at the church.
Wackett also appeared before the court yesterday charged with aggravated break and enter.
He applied for bail and was refused. He will appear via Audio Visual Link (AVL) on May 12.
In listing reasons why bail should be refused, the prosecution said there was a very strong case against the accused, there was a flight risk, and a good chance the he would commit further offences if granted bail.
If convicted Wackett could face a 20-year jail sentence.
The prosecutor said the accused has 72 convictions in Victoria for crimes committed between 1992 and 2007. They include burglary, goods in custody, fraud and weapons charges.
Legal Aid solicitor Leigh Haywood said the last conviction to appear on his record occurred six years ago. She said Wackett has been living in NSW for two-and-a-half years and has not come to the notice of police in that time.
Ms Haywood said his only family ties are in Bathurst, and that the accused is self-employed, running his own small business.
“This will be lost if he is refused bail,” Ms Haywood said.
Wackett was also willing to pay a $600 surety to the court.
Magistrate Michael Allen acknowledged there was a strong prosecution case, adding that police had located property stolen from St Barnabas’ Church. Mr Allen said the church had then been destroyed by fire.
“Such a serious indictable offence carries 20 years in prison,” Mr Allen said.
He added that Wackett has a long criminal history in Victoria, and said while he accepts the accused’s last conviction was six years ago, Wackett does have a long record.
Mr Allen was not satisfied Wackett would remain in the area if granted bail and accordingly refused it.