Firefighter accused of starting seven fires near his home granted bail

Picture: Stock image
Picture: Stock image

A volunteer firefighter from Tarraganda has been granted bail after allegedly starting seven fires in the region around his own home.

Blake William Banner, 19, appeared in Bega Local Court on Wednesday, November 27 for a bail hearing charged with seven counts of cause fire and be reckless to its spread.

Police media stated from October 17 to November 26 there have been seven fires in the Bega Valley area, which are believed to have been deliberately lit.

According to court documents these fires were started at several sites in the region between Bega and Doctor George Mountain Rd at Tarraganda.

Banner was arrested after allegedly lighting a fire near the Bega River on Tuesday, November 26 and allegedly leaving the area before returning to respond to it as part of his duties in the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Jennifer Chalker, who was appearing as the duty solicitor for the accused in court on Wednesday, told Magistrate Doug Dick police had opposed conditional bail, but she believed the risks could be mitigated.

The police prosecutor said the nature and seriousness of the offences were real and she alleged police had a "strong circumstantial case" against Banner.

The prosecutor said while the accused was of good character, had strong community ties and no other offences, she suggested Magistrate Dick set strict bail conditions.

Banner, with shoulder-length brown hair, a short beard and wearing a blue shirt, sat in the court's dock during the proceedings after being escorted into the room by police officers.

Magistrate Dick granted bail with conditions that included the accused remain at an address in Tarraganda and not leave it unless escorted by parent, that he report to police daily, not possess any fire lighting equipment and adhere to a curfew from 8pm to 8am.

"If you fail to comply with any of these conditions you can expect to be locked up," he told Banner.

Banner's case was adjourned to December 17 for pleas to be entered.