ACT News

Domestic violence accused refused bail as police investigate fire

A man charged with assaulting his former wife's new partner and who was under investigation for a fire that started in the woman's home has been refused bail.

The man, 36, has also been charged with two counts of breaching domestic violence orders, including for being on the Narrabundah property that was damaged in the blaze.

A threat to a witness has landed a plaintiff in legal hot water.
A threat to a witness has landed a plaintiff in legal hot water. Photo: Louie Douvis

Police found the defendant alone on the property about 11am on Friday after receiving reports of a house fire.

The defendant told police he had left the property at about 10.15am after 45 minutes at the home.

After being arrested the man said he believed he was allowed to be there, court documents said.

A senior constable told the ACT Magistrates Court on Saturday the defendant had taken out an insurance policy on the house only a few weeks earlier. The man had also deleted the call history on his phone prior to the time of the fire, the officer said.

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"His former wife is concerned about the escalating behaviour of the defendant and is living at a hotel at the moment," the officer said.

The wife had last attended the Narrabundah property at 2pm on Thursday, the officer said.

The defendant was charged with assaulting his wife's partner on December 13, leaving him with a broken tooth and bloody eye, after learning the man and his wife had an affair, court documents said.

The officer told the court the defendant had been unable to deal with the situation since their break-up in October last year.

Hotel staff alerted the former wife the defendant had booked a room at the same hotel as her on January 10, five days after he stopped living at the Narrabundah property and a domestic violence order was made, court documents said.

The senior constable said the wife had received more than 20 calls from the defendant on Friday morning despite being directly told by her she did not want to talk. The defendant is allowed to contact his wife in relation to their children.

No pleas were entered. The prosecutor opposed bail, saying there were concerns for the safety of the woman and her partner.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker refused bail, noting the seriousness of the injuries to the new partner and that the former wife was "terrified" by the defendant turning up at the same hotel.

The matter returns to court on February 23.