A man accused of intending to burn down ex-wife’s house armed with a jerry can has been denied bail over the potential risk to himself.
Court heard that when approached by police the 57-year-old is alleged to have said he had planned on setting himself alight.
Brian David Hogg, appeared charged with possession of an article with intent to damage property, possession of a bladed article in a public place and theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday, via videolink from Maghaberry.
Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated that the case had been listed for a bail application but with the investigating officer not in attendance the application would be made in the defendant’s absence.
A constable outlined that on January 20, police were contacted by family members of the defendant. They reported that he had got into a taxi with a jerry can and had gone to his ex-wife’s home in Donaghcloney.
Court was informed that officers stopped Hogg in a car park near his ex-wife’s home, and he claimed that he had planned on setting himself on fire.
It was alleged the defendant told police it was his intention to sleep in a shed at his ex-wife’s property. They originally believed that Hogg had breached a non-molestation order but he had not physically attended the alleged injured party’s home.
Court was informed he was arrested and placed a knife to his chest and threatened to hurt himself, and when interviewed, said he had taken the knife from a friend without their permission.
The constable stated bail was being objected to due to risk of further offences.
She commented: “If police had not intervened there is a strong possibility he would have breached the non-molestation order.
“His ex-wife has since left this house, there have been calls regarding domestic violence between the two going back to the year 2000.”
There were also concerns expressed for Hogg’s own safety.
The constable added: “The proposed address is at a hostel, which does not allow alcohol. We do not believe this is suitable for someone with alcohol dependence.”
Mr Lunny stated: “It is a plea to the knife and the theft, it is not guilty to the other offence. That rests on the mens rea as to whether the intention was there.
“He is prone to mental health episodes, he is estranged from his wife. He had no intention of burning anyone or anything, other than himself.”
He added: “He does not know where his wife is now, she is not a witness in the case and he has already served the equivalent of a three month sentence”..”
District Judge Steven Keown said: “His record is not what concerns me, it is his own mental state. Bail is refused on the grounds of risk of further offences and risk to himself.
“I believe that in order for any bail application to get even off the ground, he would need to be assessed by a psychiatrist.”
The case was adjourned until March 20 for a date to be fixed for contest.
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