Gardaí have objected to bail being granted to a man accused of setting fire to a Cork City Council house where he was a tenant.
Inspector Fergal Foley said of the State objection: “It is a public interest concern.”
Anthony Hayes faces a charge of arson, allegedly setting fire to 23 Hollywood Estate, Hollyhill, a house owned by the city council, and at which the defendant was residing.
Detective Garda Aidan Forrest said it was alleged by the State that on June 25 Hayes allegedly set fire to furniture in the house, thereby causing a fire that resulted in €125,000 damage.
“The house was totally gutted. CCTV allegedly shows the defendant entering and exiting the house at the time of the alleged incident and that witnesses also placed him at the scene,” said Det Garda Forrest said.
He said the possible sentence for arson on convictions is life imprisonment.
“The defendant’s own house was burnt to the ground and damage was also done to houses on either side of it. He says he has a serious alcohol and prescription tablets problem which would have contributed to him committing the alleged offence. And it may cause him to commit other serious offences,” said Det Garda Forrest.
Frank Buttimer, defending, said: “The unique nature of this charge is that the accused committed the damage to the family home. It arose out of a feeling of anger or upset regarding a domestic matter that happened very shortly before this incident.”
Mr Buttimer said the prosecution case was that all parties at the house had left, and that Hayes returned and committed the arson.
Mr Buttimer said the concern of the gardaí related to their perception of the volatility of the defendant.
Det Garda Forrest said they would have that concern if the defendant took intoxicants.
Mr Buttimer said that the defendant’s partner, who lost her home as a result of this, was supportive of Hayes, who was trying while in custody to deal with his addiction difficulties.
Hayes, who was in tears in the witness box, said he had been attending a counsellor and psychiatrist in prison and was keen to continue with such treatment whenever he was released.
Insp Foley said if there was evidence of the defendant’s definitive plans for rehabilitation then the State would not be opposed to bail.
Judge Leo Malone adjourned the case for a fortnight for that to be done.
Mr Buttimer said:, “Cards on the table, he has admitted the offence, he is at a very low ebb at the moment.”
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