A Melbourne mechanic has confronted court accused of setting a neighbour on hearth following a “frequent noise dispute”.
Michael Gauci, 44, returned earlier than the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday afternoon for a bail utility, which was opposed by police who claimed he was an “unacceptable threat”.
Quite a few family and pals have been current in court to help him, together with his parents Maurice and Antonia Gauci who provided to place up their household dwelling as surety.
Detailing the allegations of “excessive violence”, Detective Senior Constable Matthew Wick mentioned Mr Gauci, who owns and runs an auto store and wreckers in Werribee South, allegedly doused his neighbour in accelerant earlier than setting her alight following an argument over “loud music”.
Detective Wick mentioned the girl, a 32-year-old from New Zealand, was with just a few pals in her yard on December 27 “consuming, taking part in music and singing alongside”.
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Mr Gauci was allegedly out at a automotive meet-up when he acquired a textual content message from his spouse at 11.42pm saying the neighbours have been being annoying.
“Dangle over the fence and inform them you’ve gotten small children attempting to sleep,” he allegedly responded.
Detective Wick mentioned police allege the group complied and turned down their music however argued with Mr Gauci’s spouse about 10 minutes later when she “yelled on the group once more to be quiet”.
He mentioned the group allegedly left the property, happening to the close by seaside, however returned to the yard about 1am to 1.30am.
CCTV footage from Mr Gauci’s dwelling, Detective Wick mentioned, allegedly confirmed him decide up a blow torch at 1.48am earlier than his spouse turns off the system.
Two minutes later, police allege Mr Gauci challenged the girl to combat him or his spouse exterior the home.
Detective Wick mentioned she accepted however was allegedly doused by Mr Gauci with about one litre of “what smelt like petrol” and set on hearth.
He advised the court the girl suffered burns to 70 per cent of her physique and was given a 30 per cent likelihood of survival.
Detective Wick mentioned Mr Gauci allegedly drove his household to the native police station the place he handed himself in and offered a “no remark” interview.
He was charged with tried homicide, alongside various costs together with reckless conduct endangering demise and deliberately inflicting critical harm.
She spent greater than seven months in hospital earlier than being launched to household in NSW and would require a number of surgical procedures over the following 12 to 24 months.
Opposing bail, Detective Wick mentioned Mr Gauci allegedly deliberate, instigated and carried out an act of utmost violence in response to a minor disagreement about noise, elevating concern of “additional excessive reactions”.
He mentioned Mr Gauci was a revered member of the area people and police held issues he would attempt to intervene with witnesses.
Mr Gauci’s lawyer, Dr Gideon Boas, argued his client merely wished to get on together with his life after 11 months in custody, combat the allegations and work to rebuild his enterprise which was in “dire straits”.
He advised the court “components” of the prosecution case can be disputed, together with the “nature of the interplay” and the way the girl got here to be alight.
“One can take a look at it as (allegedly) being a second of insanity or pre-planned … it’s all very harmful as a result of it’s all speculative,” he mentioned.
“Your Honour has one model of occasions … that’s the hazard of taking that as proof, there’s triable points.”
Justice of the Peace Jarrod Williams adjourned his resolution, saying he wanted time to think about the matter.
Mr Gauci will return to court subsequent week for a ruling on his bail utility.