Teen gets probation for lighting Wondunna fires

A TEENAGER has been placed on 12 months probation for lighting two grass fires in Wondunna, one which ran along the boundary fence of a home.

Christopher Junior Dizon Couper, 17, pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court on Thursday to two counts of lighting an unauthorised fire.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Michael Quirk said firefighters were called to grass land in Wondunna about 12.30pm on September 18 to extinguish two fires in bushland near Gilston and Doolong S roads.

"Fire communications said the fires were deliberately lit," he said.

Sgt Quirk said firefighters told police they had seen Couper in the area watching fires.

He said police had also received a call from Couper's father who said he had threatened to light fires after an argument at home.

Police saw Couper, who was carrying two bags, in the area and questioned him about the fires.

"Before being handcuffed he produced a red BIC lighter and threw it at the feet of police officers," he said.

Defence solicitor John McDuff said Couper was a "troubled young man" who was completing Year 12 but not aiming for an OP score.

Mr McDuff said Couper had been experiencing a number of problems with his parents and was now seeking help to resolve the issues.

Magistrate Graeme Tatnell condemned Couper's actions.

"Anyone knows that particularly with the dry season we have had there is potential to cause damage," he said.

Mr Tatnell said it was lucky the fires had not caused any damage to homes or property.

He ordered Couper serve 12 month probation.



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