‘Meth binge’ before arson that damaged unit block
AN ARSONIST who caused more than $100,000 damage to a Maroochydore unit, killed a cat and put a man's life at risk was released on bail today.
Harley Norman Jon Pascoe, 22, but 20 at the time of offending, appeared in the Maroochydore District Court facing four charges, the most serious being arson and attempted armed robbery.
He was charged - along with the mother of his child, Paris Jag Dean-Rogers - with attempted armed robbery after they attempted to hold up a Marcoola convenience store.
In September, Pascoe pleaded guilty to all charges and was due to be sentenced.
Crown prosecutor Katherine Milbourne said that on April 28, 2018, sometime after 11.30pm, Pascoe "deliberately" flicked a cigarette through a window of the downstairs unit, knowing the fabric on the couch below the sill was flammable.
"The fire caused extensive damage, a cat was inside and killed. It destroyed the ground floor and upstairs was damaged," Ms Milbourne told the court.
"His conduct went beyond what's regarded as recklessness. There was no regard for the safety of the victim who was asleep and put his life at risk."
The fire forced the evacuation of 13 people in the unit block.
In a police statement presented by the Crown, Pascoe's ex-girlfriend and co-accused in the armed robbery matter said he had a "fascination" with fires.
The court heard Pascoe "hated" the unit's occupant, who is the father of his co-accused.
The Crown sought a head sentence of four to four-and-a-half years. Pascoe had already spent more than 100 days in custody.
Pascoe's defence told the court he had been on a "week-long methylamphetamine binge" and was "possibly in an induced drug psychosis".
"He hadn't slept for a week, it was a chronic meth binge. He was hearing voices, freaking out, the effects of meth were clearly contributing," the court heard.
"Clearly these factors led to offending, but his rehabilitation has been targeted to these matters."
The defence did not counter that Pascoe's actions were deliberate but said a head sentence of around three years was appropriate.
Judge Gary Long adjourned the matter until Wednesday.