Gas cylinder used to start fire

NICHOLAS Grieves was in a group of five teenagers who set fire to three wheelie bins and damaged bag racks at Glenmore State High School in Rockhampton on May 4 this year.

Three weeks later, there was a more serious fire at the school, but Grieves and his friends were not responsible for that blaze.

Grieves, a 19-year-old delivery driver, lives in Moranbah and was in Rockhampton for a wedding, Crown prosecutor Scott Thackeray told the District Court in Mackay on Thursday.

He got extremely intoxicated and was walking with four other people when they went past a caravan park.

He took a gas cylinder, then got three council wheelie bins and lined them up against the bag racks at the school.

One of the group put the gas cylinder in a wheelie bin and another person lit it and they all left.

Apart from the bag racks, there was smoke and water damage to the ceiling and fixtures.

However, compensation was not required because damage was more severe in an unrelated fire about three weeks later.

Grieves pleaded guilty yesterday to setting fire to the bag racks and wilfully damaging three Rockhampton Regional Council wheelie bins.

The court heard that three juveniles (under 17) had already been dealt with under the Youth Justice Conference system and one other person was yet to face court.

Barrister Bronwyn Hartigan, for Grieves, said he was now engaged and had a 16-month-old son.

Grieves was intoxicated at the time and has since undergone alcohol counselling.

Judge Julie Dick, SC, told Grieves: “You are very lucky the fire was contained to the bag racks. It’s not damage to a public building but it is still damage to public property.”

She said setting fire to the bins near the bag racks was “an absolutely ridiculous thing to do”.

Grieves was placed on probation for two years.

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