GUTTED: Images showing the devastated bistro of the Australian Hotel
GUTTED: Images showing the devastated bistro of the Australian Hotel Hamish Broome

Sorry officer, my towel slipped ... twice

A HOMELESS man accused of lighting a fire that caused more than $1 million damage to Ballina's Australian Hotel is back behind bars after breaching bail.

Reginald Mario Carter faced Ballina Local Court Magistrate R Denes on May 30, charged with maliciously damaging property by fire causing more than $15,000 damage.

The charges related to a fire outside the hotel allegedly started by 83-year-old Carter on Friday, May 29.

Ms Denes granted Carter conditional bail to live at a Ballina motel.

Yesterday, Lismore Local Court heard last week when Carter went to report to Ballina police his trousers were wet, so he wrapped a towel around himself.

Carter's solicitor Edwina Lloyd said while he was reporting his towel fell off inside Ballina police station.

"When his towel slipped off the sergeant had stern words with him," Ms Lloyd said.

"Then his towel slipped off again.

"Due to what happened, the next day he was too afraid to report to police."

The court heard on July 1, when Ballina police went to the motel Carter said he was living to enquire about some of his property, officers were told he had never resided there.

The following day he was arrested by police for breach of bail and held in custody until yesterday's appearance.

Ms Lloyd did not apply for Carter's bail, which was formally refused.

Magistrate David Heilpern adjourned Carter's matter until later this week at Ballina Local Court.

Ms Lloyd said she would try to find him assistance or suitable accommodation before his next court appearance.



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