Friday, Feb 13, 2009 11:47 AM.. Australian police charged a man (unnamed) with "arson causing death" on Friday over one of the country's deadly bushfires, which killed 181 people.
The arson suspect also was charged with possessing child pornography.
Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported from Morwell that the suspect was formally charged in the town's magistrate's court, but that he did not appear. He was ordered to be held in custody and to undergo psychiatric evaluation, the broadcaster said.
See my prior post, FOX NEWS Australian Wildfires Could Fuel 'Forest Jihad' Terrorists, Experts Say, PI Bill Warner Posted on Aussie "Forest Jihad" Sunday, Feb. 08, 2009.
Police said in a statement that Magistrate Clive Allsop banned publication of any details or photographs of the man that could identify him (why would the court sheild the ID of this man, he has been formally charged, they have proof, what are his links, is the court concearned about a backlash against "others", very odd is this a case of "Forest Jihad"). Another court hearing was scheduled for Monday, 2/16/09.
The unidentified man was also charged with "intentionally or recklessly" lighting the fire near the town of Churchill in the southern state of Victoria last Saturday, said a police spokesman. Twenty-one people died in the fire.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described Australia's deadliest bushfires as "mass murder". The man, who was arrested on Friday, did not appear in court when the charges were laid. Police told the Morwell Magistrates Court the man was in a fragile mental state, said local media.
The court ordered a suppression order on the man's identity and ordered that he be assessed by a psychologist.The man was transferred from rural Victoria to Australia's second largest city of Melbourne for his own safety, said local media.
In Victoria, arson carries a maximum penalty of 25 years, with the bushfire charge carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years.Authorities say the bushfire toll is expected to rise beyond 200 as more bodies are discovered in the remains of houses.
One razed town, Marysville, sealed off to the public due to the horrific scenes there, may contain 50 to 100 more dead, authorities say. That would bring the toll to around 300.
Australia has launched its biggest arson investigation, "Operation Phoenix", believing at least one or more of the fires may have been deliberately lit. Police detained two men on Thursday but later released them.
Thousands of firefighters on Friday continued to battle blazes in Victoria, with some 20 fires still burning, many out of control. Forty-four public schools across the state were closed on Friday due to the bushfire threat.
The disaster area, more than twice the size of London and encompassing more than 20 towns, has been declared a crime zone. The fires have burnt 1,831 homes and left 7,000 people homeless. The tragedy is the worst natural disaster in Australia in 110 years.
WBI Inc private Detective Agency