Attempted murder accused only wanted to 'scare' victim
A MAN accused of setting a stranger on fire in a vigilante murder attempt at Bucasia has made shock admissions in court, claiming he only meant to give the victim "a scare".
Anton Van Eldik has denied the attempted murder charge during a bail application in Mackay Magistrates Court this morning over the incident that resulted in a unit burning to the ground.
Solicitor Peter Clark, of Strutynski Law, said his Midge Point client had been at the Fisher Street unit on July 25 last year and gained entry by pretending to be a police officer.
"To give (the complainant) a scare he instructs that he took a small quantity of accelerant... that he threw that on (the complainant's) couch in the residence and ignited the accelerant," Mr Clark said.
"Specifically he says he did not throw the accelerant at (the complainant), he did not intend to burn (the complainant), he did not intend to burn down (the complainant's) home."
The court heard that the unit was gutted by fire and as a result the complainant received injuries considered by law to be grievous bodily harm.
"Frankly he said that he was astonished that the small amount managed to set fire to the couch," Mr Clark said. "He attempted to put the fire out."
Mr Clark said Mr Van Eldik had embarked on "such a bizarre course of action" over allegations relating to two children. However, it is understood these allegations are unfounded.
Mr Van Eldik, who appeared via videolink, is charged with attempted murder, arson, assault occasioning bodily harm, burglary and impersonating a police officer.
"It's in doubt as to whether he's guilty of arson, probably he is," Mr Clark said, adding there was doubt about whether there had been the intention to burn down the unit.
"On our submissions he's certainly not guilty of attempted murder. He instructs that the accelerant came into contact with (the complainant) if at all inadvertently, by accident or without intention."
Mr Clark said based on his client's admissions he was looking at about two years jail minimum and was reaching the one-third mark having already spent 233 days in custody.
However, prosecutor Chelsea Pearson objected to bail, arguing the case against Mr Van Eldik was strong and he was not at risk of spending too long in custody.
"Parties were not known to each other at the time of the offence but they do have that semi familial relation as indicated in the bail object," Ms Pearson said.
She argued that Mr Van Eldik was an unacceptable risk of committing further offences, would be a safety risk and a risk of interfering with witnesses.
Magistrate Mark Nolan agreed there was "too greater risk" and denied bail.
The case was filed for registry committal on Thursday and will be mentioned again in June.