Arsonist has no memory of attack

Gordon General Store owners, John and Jan Spiteri will have to wait another three months in order to make a fresh court bid to seek justice against the arsonist of their store.

The couple, along side their daughter, appeared in the body of the Sunshine Magistrate Court on Tuesday February 3, as 67-year-old Robert Wallace pleaded guilty to a single charge of criminal damage by fire.

On the evening of October 9 2014, two local bystanders were leaving the Gordon pub when they noticed the front of the store in flames. Forensic officers attended the scene and downloaded the store’s CCTV footage, where Mr and Mr’s Spiteri’s daughter was able to identify the culprit as Robert Wallace, her father-in-law up until just three months prior.

The Spiteri’s supplied the court with a victim impact statement, which stated that although the relationship between Ms Spiteri and Mr Wallace’s son had ended, there was no hostility and they had even attended dinner together with their children one day before the incident.

The Spiteri’s hoped to sue for up to $3,000, including $1,500 for damages and cost of repairs and $1,500 in loss of earnings. The damage included a burnt front door, burnt mats and burns to the front of the shop, with a strong smell of smoke forcing the family to close the shop for 24 hours.

During the hearing, Mr Wallace’s solicitor asked Magistrate Richard Pithouse for a further adjournment in order to finalise a psychiatric analysis, as Wallace had yet to recall the incident whatsoever.

“With no drugs or alcohol involved, there is a difficulty to this plea as his behaviour has come entirely out of left field,” the solicitor said.

“We need to work out the reason why he cannot recall the incident, as whether he has blocked it out we just don’t know”.

Magistrate Pithouse agreed to an adjournment, stating that they needed to pinpoint the reason why he attacked a property of someone he was related to by marriage. Wallace will reappear in the Sunshine Magistrates Court on May 6.

First appeared in The Moorabool News on February 10, 2015.

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