Bail refused for accused Bellbird Park arsonist

THE man accused of setting numerous fires in Bellbird Park had a "vendetta" against the development, according to police.

Dale James Page, 38, is facing 43 charges including arson, wilful damage, entering premises with intent, stealing and trespassing.

Page was yesterday denied bail in the Ipswich Magistrates Court.

Police prosecutor Sergeant John Nelson tendered a 25-page objection to bail.

It stated Page, who has worked for the Ipswich City Council for 15 years, had made admissions to setting nine portaloos on fire and stealing cameras police had set up to try and catch him.

Police are examining fingerprints taken from Page, comparing them with those found on a $170,000 excavator they allege he set fire to.

Defence lawyer Yasser Khan said Page was willing to adhere to a curfew to restrict him from accessing bushland, and to order him to live with his elderly father, who appeared in court along with a number of family members.

His father was also willing to offer a $10,000 surety for his son.

Sgt Nelson said Page had no criminal history, and told the court police had a strong circumstantial case.

Sgt Nelson said there was no risk of Page spending longer in pre-sentence custody than he could be sentenced to serve, with four years' prison at the "absolute bottom end" of a potential sentence.

The bearded, balding Page sat silently in the courtroom dock looking towards his supporters throughout the bail application.

Mr Khan said Page was of "limited intellectual ability" and tendered letters of support from family members.

Mr Khan said Page disputed a number of the charges and expected they would be taken to trial.

Magistrate Roger Stark said the police alleged Page had a "vendetta" against the development and had told them he did not want the project to continue.

He ruled Page posed an unacceptable risk of re-offending if released from custody and refused his bail. Page will reappear in court at the committal callover on February 26.

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