A man accused of setting fire to his ex-partner’s Monash home while on bail for serious offences linked to a 2010 shooting at the Hughes shops has lost his latest bid for release. Todd Elphick, 27, was already facing charges of conspiring to shoot someone in the foot behind the Hughes shops when he allegedly set fire to the home on Griffin Place early last month.
The fire caused about $300,000 damage, and destroyed much of the property.
No one was injured, according to police. There was no one inside at the time of the fire.
The fire was deemed suspicious, and court documents show that fire investigators concluded accelerant had been used.
Investigations soon led to the arrest of Elphick, who was charged with arson and contravening a protection order taken out by his ex-partner.
Elphick applied for bail the first time he appeared in court on July 11, but failed because he faced an extra hurdle which required him to show there were special or extenuating circumstances that warranted his release. That hurdle existed because, at the time of the fire, Elphick was on bail for a charge of conspiring to commit grievous bodily harm, which related to a plan with Kai Yuen, 28, to shoot Brendan Scott Welsh, also 28, in the foot in May 2010.
Mr Welsh was later murdered by Yuen as he sat in a car behind the Hughes shops. Yuen is at present serving 28 years behind bars.
But since July 11, defence lawyers and prosecutors reached an agreement that saw Elphick charged with the less serious offence of accessory after the fact to an unlawful discharge of a firearm.
He pleaded guilty to that offence, and was sentenced on Wednesday to 225 days in prison – time which he had already served.
Just over 24 hours after that sentence, Elphick made another bid for release on bail in the ACT Magistrates Court.
His lawyer, Craig Lynch, argued that the finalisation of the accessory after the fact charges in the ACT Supreme Court was a special or exceptional circumstance that warranted a hearing of his client’s bail application.
Mr Lynch also argued that Elphick would be unable to properly communicate and instruct his lawyers in a custody battle with his ex-partner while inside the Alexander Maconochie Centre.
However, prosecutors opposed his bid for bail, saying Elphick had not proved special circumstances.
The prosecution argued that he still posed a ‘‘substantial risk’’ to the community.
Special magistrate Graeme Lunney agreed, and denied Elphick bail.
The matter will be back before court on August 7.