Man refused bail over arson attack

HIS face badly burned and his hands bandaged, Benjamin Abrahams looked a sad and sorry sight when he appeared in the dock of the Lismore Local Court clad in a red singlet charged over a fire in the roof of the Byron Bay nightclub, Liquid.

Abrahams, 31, of New Brighton, made an unsuccessful bail application after being accused by police of causing the Liquid nightclub fire in the early hours of Saturday morning while patrons were inside.

Abrahams, whose black dreadlocks also appeared singed above his forehead, is charged with intentionally damaging the nightclub with intent to endanger the life of patrons and staff between 2.15am and 2.40am on April 17; and destroying/damaging property at Liquid Nightclub and Bar, the property of David Coleman.

Police found the remains of an exploded spray can of fluorescent green paint at the scene.

Abrahams, who had green paint on his skin and clothes, was arrested later that morning when he walked into Byron Bay Hospital seeking medical treatment for his burns.

Defence lawyer John Hennessy said initial police allegations appeared serious, but the prosecution may have difficulty in proving the ‘with intent’ allegation.

He said his client was from Western Australia and although he had a police record, such an offence was not in his nature.

He said Abraham’s father lived in Tamworth and worked ‘in government circles’.

Mr Hennessy said Abrahams was looking for work in the area, was a father, and had been living with his partner at New Brighton.

He owned a Toyota Landcruiser that he could put up as security for his bail.

Mr Hennessy said his client had severe burns to his hands that must be treated daily.

Magistrate Robyn Denes refused bail because there was a lack of community ties and the court needed more information.

She adjourned the case to June.

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