Man accused of cathedral blaze back in court
THE man accused of starting a fire in a Lismore cathedral will have his case heard in the district court.
Stephen Anthony Luke, 45, was charged with damaging more than $15,000 worth of property with fire, using an offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention, two counts of assault with intent to rob armed with an offensive weapon, armed robbery using with offensive weapon, two counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception-and larceny.
Mr Luke, who remains in custody, had his matter briefly mentioned before Lismore Local Court on Monday.
Police will allege Mr Luke committed a series of offences across NSW this week, starting in Griffith where he allegedly threatened a 20-year-old woman in a car park with a knife before demanding she give him the car keys on September 14.
Police allege he then fled the area in her Volkswagen Polo, along with her handbag containing personal items.
Mr Luke then allegedly approached a 23-year-old woman outside a shopping centre at Hornsby and threatened her with a large knife.
Police allege he demanded she hand over her cash, but she was able to flee without handing over any of her possessions.
Police will allege Mr Luke then travelled to Lismore, where he set fire to St Carthage's Cathedral in Lismore on September 18.
Multiple fire crews were called to the cathedral and managed to extinguish the blaze.
Mr Luke was later arrested on September 19 on Magellan St, Lismore.
A taser was used to subdue Mr Luke after he allegedly threatened officers with a large knife.
Mr Luke's solicitor, Natasha Wood, told the court her client would not be entering any pleas yet.
The NSW Police prosecutor said several of the charges against Mr Luke would be committed to the Lismore District Court as they were strictly indictable offences.
But he told the court the remaining charges would be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions to determine whether they wish to proceed with the charges.
Mr Luke did not apply for bail and bail was formally refused.
He will appear at Lismore Local Court on November 25 for further mention.