ACT News


Pipe-bomb maker keen to keep smoking marijuana

A ''brutally honest'' explosives enthusiast who once blew off the top of his thumb and forefinger has admitted to making home-made bombs in his government supported accommodation.

Joseph Lawson faced the ACT Supreme Court on Friday, having pleaded guilty to burglary and the possession of gelignite, a prohibited substance.

Lawson told the court that he had a history of alcohol and drug abuse and while he intended to reduce his alcohol consumption he said he wanted to continue smoking marijuana.

The 32-year-old had lived at the Ainslie Village supported accommodation facility for three years until June 2010 when he was evicted after a fight with another tenant.

He left without his possessions and staff cleaning the flat found what appeared to be a replica firearm, ammunition, gunpowder and laboratory equipment.

The statement of facts said police found a PVC ''pipe bomb'', bomb recipes, powders and detonation cords.


Officers found electronic equipment that they said was consistent with bomb manufacturing and exercise books that allegedly indicated Lawson's ability and intention to make an explosive device.

A further search allegedly revealed another PVC ''pipe bomb'' and two glass jars containing safety fuses, detonators and small sections of explosive cartridges.

Police said they also found radio controllers, Christmas lights used as improvised detonators, propane gas torches and chemicals.

Lawson told the court he had had an interest in explosives since his teens and had blown off the top of his thumb and forefinger.

He admitted the bomb police found was made up of explosive components … but said the detonator was fake.

Lawson expressed a wish to give up drinking but did not want to enter a rehabilitation facility.

''I don't think 12 months in rehab will guarantee a cure,'' he said.

Lawson told the court he wanted to go on smoking marijuana as well as study science at university.

The prosecution said it was rare to hear such ''brutal honesty'' from a witness and noted Lawson had a good record of compliance with bail conditions.

Justice Richard Refshauge ordered a drug and alcohol report and mental health assessment be conducted before the next court date. Lawson is due for sentence next week.