Man charged over Aberfeldy fire

POLICE are guarding the property belonging to a man accused of starting the Aberfeldy-Donnelly fire due to the fear of revenge attacks.

Police have employed sophisticated surveillance to ensure the property belonging to 75-year-old Aberfeldy man Grahame Ernest Code is not the subject of any criminal offences.

Code appeared in the Latrobe Valley Magistrates’ Court in Morwell on Wednesday after being charged by Arson and Explosives Squad detectives with five offences including recklessly cause bushfire and causing a fire to be lit without written authority in a fire protected area.

The fire began on a rural property in Aberfeldy during the morning of Thursday, January 17.

The fire has burnt more than 75,000 hectares of land in Aberfeldy, Heyfield and Seaton. Twenty-two homes and more than 200 livestock have been lost, while an 84-year-old Seaton man died as a result of the fire.

Code has been remanded in custody to reappear on Tuesday, February 5. Code’s defence did not apply for bail.

Police have reminded the public of the need to respect and have confidence in the judicial process and allow it to run its course.