Three months jail for torching car in front yard

Liz Bell

A 19-YEAR-OLD man who set fire to a car in Maffra and caused an explosion that damaged a house has been jailed for three months.

At Sale Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Joshua Detar, now 20, pleaded guilty to several charges, including criminal damage, threat to kill, committing an indictable offence while on bail, harassing witnesses, and driving matters.

The court heard that in May last year Detar drove from his home in Morwell to a house in Carpenter St, Maffra, where a car recently sold by a close friend of Detar’s was parked on the front lawn of a house.

The court heard Detar had a “misguided loyalty” to his terminally-ill friend, who had sold the car to a woman in Maffra but had allegedly not received full payment.

That friend has since died.

“You decided to take matters into your own hands,” Magistrate Jacinta Studham told Detar, who was brought into court handcuffed.

Mr Detar then poured petrol on to the back seat of the vehicle and ignited it, which caused the gas tank to explode and destroy the vehicle and damage the house.

Magistrate Studham said the resulting damage was “significant”.

Mr Detar also faced one charge of harassing witnesses, after he was found to have contacted a man he had attempted to coerce into carrying out the arson attack, contacting the man’s girlfriend and sister, and then posting a witness statement on Facebook.

The magistrate said harassing witnesses was a serious offence that “carried a degree of weight”, and Detar was “lucky” the charge was not attempting to pervert the course of justice.

However, she conceded that although he had “anger management” issues and a problem with authority, Detar’s prospects of rehabilitation were good, because he was young, had strong family support and did not have a significant prior record.

The court heard Detar had recently reduced his drug use, after reconnecting with his father.

Magistrate Studham acknowledged Detar had had some problems in 2017 and 2018, when “things got out of control for you”.

She also took into account a victim impact statement which was not read out in court, and said if he had been one year older, the penalties would be much harsher.

Detar was jailed for three months, reduced by seven days for time already served and handed a two-year community corrections order of 100 unpaid community service for the charge of criminal damage (arson); convicted and fined $800 plus costs for driving related charges, and had his licence cancelled for periods of six and 12 months, to run concurrently.

He must undergo a mental health assessment and anger management program.

He was also ordered to pay $4950 in restitution for the damage, fined $1000 for breaching a previous community corrections order, and must provide a DNA sample for police records.