FAMOUS AIRLIE BUILDING IN FLAMES
A LENGTHY list of criminal convictions spanning four states will keep alleged arsonist Beau Cole Rutherford behind bars until his next court appearance.
The 22-year-old faced Mackay Magistrates Court on Monday on one count of arson and one of contravening direction of police in relation to a fire on Friday night, which destroyed the former Nomads Caravan Park reception building and service station in Airlie Beach.
Rutherford, who is from the NSW Central Coast town of Lake Munmorah, was refused bail, based on his history of not attending court appearances.
The fire, which police were alerted to at 11.40pm, gutted the building in Airlie Beach’s main street which had remained unoccupied since Cyclone Debbie in March last year.
The building was fully engulfed by flames when Queensland Fire and Emergency Services firefighters from Airlie Beach and Proserpine arrived.
Firefighters worked into the night to extinguish the blaze, and the main street was closed off to traffic during this time.
Defence solicitor Rosie Varley, of Legal Aid, said her client had told her he was not involved with the fire and because of this it would be “unjust” to deny him bail.
Ms Varley said the prosecution’s case relied on “circumstantial” CCTV evidence.
“(Rutherford) does accept he was in the area when this offence occurred... he accepts that he may be in the CCTV footage,” Ms Varley said.
“At this point in time... the only evidence linking my client to the offence is him being near the vicinity where the offence occurred.”
The prosecution said bail should be denied considering Rutherford was “at large” after not attending a Brisbane court appearance, where he was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm last week.
Citing 10 previous failures to appear on charges from New South Wales courts, the prosecution said Mackay Magistrate Mark Nolan should consider this when he decided on the bail application.
Mr Nolan told Rutherford his history of not attending court appearances meant he would be denied bail.
“I believe there is nothing I can do by way of conditions of bail to mitigate against the likelihood of you not turning up to court,” Mr Nolan said.
“In light of your history of failing to appear in Queensland and interstate... bail is refused.”
Rutherford was remanded in custody to reappear in court on November 12.
WATER NEEDED: QFES firefighters work to put out the fire at the former Nomads Caravan Park reception building and service station in Airlie Beach overnight Friday.
Flames engulf the building.
QFES firefighters put water on the building.