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Charges dropped over Middle Park explosion


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  • Charges dropped over Middle Park explosion

    "Defence counsel Mandy Fox argued the charges against Mr Firth should be dismissed because his actions only endangered himself."

    Trying to kill yourself with a gas bottle, in an apartment building no less, isn't endangering others?

    What a joke.

    A MAN whose thwarted suicide attempt left three police officers fighting for life and three firefighters badly injured has walked free from court after charges against him were dismissed.

    A number of the victims waited outside the courtroom and were comforted by their upset families following the decision.

    Deputy Chief Magistrate Jelena Popovic cried as she thanked the emergency service workers, but said there was insufficient evidence for a jury to convict Leon Firth.

    “I can’t begin to tell you how much of a comfort it is to the community to know there are people who act selflessly and valiantly to save the lives of other members of the community,” Ms Popovic tearfully said.

    Mr Firth, who appeared to have compression bandages on his hands, hugged his legal counsel and declined to comment outside the court.

    He had 21 charges against him, including causing serious injury and endangering life, dismissed.

    Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard Mr Firth’s Facebook post about suicide led to police and fire fighters attending his Middle Park flat on January 4.

    Six were injured in a blast.

    Fire investigator John Kelleher said a wall furnace likely ignited the gas, which leaked out of 40-year-old’s bedroom when the police opened the sealed door.

    Firth was found in a semiconscious state, wearing a sleep apnoea mask, and was later placed in an induced coma.

    Chief crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert, QC, argued that once Mr Firth posted his intentions on Facebook, “advertising (it) to the world”, it was inevitable and foreseeable that his door would be opened and an explosion could occur.

    Defence counsel Mandy Fox argued the charges against Mr Firth should be dismissed because his actions only endangered himself.

    “There is no suggestion by anyone that he was doing anything other than trying to kill himself,” Ms Fox said.

    Ms Popovic agreed with Ms Fox, finding Mr Firth made a serious attempt to end his life after breaking up with his girlfriend of four months and did not foresee that his actions could have placed others at risk.

    She said a jury would have to introduce hypothetical evidence — that he would have expected someone to see his post, quickly alert authorities, who would respond promptly and break into his home — to find Mr Firth guilty.

    The fuel-air gas explosion caused severe burns three police officers, critically injuring two female constables and badly burning a male sergeant.

    Three firefighters were also injured.

  • #2
    I made a thread too, in the general forum.

    There is a massive public interest in this scumbag being prosecuted and for a magistrate to presume that no jury could convict him is not in the interests of justice.

    This is a massive slap in the face to all emergency services personnel.


    • #3
      Ah okay, I didn't see it until just then.

      Ken Lay said that charges against Firth would be pursued further. Hopefully it works out.


      • #4
        VicPol always prefers the path of least resistance. I don't see the OPP sticking their neck out either.


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