A Casino man will return to court in the new year over the break-in and destructive blaze.
A Casino man will return to court in the new year over the break-in and destructive blaze.

Man admits to causing break-in and destructive school fire

A CASINO man has admitted to causing a destructive fire after breaking into a high school.

Emergency services were called to Casino High School in the early hours of September 7 last year.

The school had been broken into and a host of equipment had been stolen from its administration shed.

Aden Newman, 23, appeared by video link before Lismore Local Court from Cessnock Correctional Centre on Wednesday.

He was arrested in March and has been in custody since then.

In court on Wednesday, he entered guilty pleas to the charges of break-and-enter in company involving theft, intentionally or recklessly damaging property by fire and two counts of acting or making an omission with intent to pervert the course of justice.

An offence of tampering with evidence with intent to mislead judicial tribunal, related to the fire which was to erase evidence of the break-in and thefts, will also go before the District Court as a backup charge when he faces a sentencing hearing.

Two further charges of acting with intent to pervert the course of justice will be taken into account when Newman's ultimately sentenced, although they won't draw an individual penalty.

A charge of conspiracy to commit a break-and-enter at the Casino Mini Railway, which related to the same night, was withdrawn.

According to court documents, items stolen from the high school between 11pm on September 6 and 1am the following morning included a wheel barrow, electric sander, electric drill, various other power tools and other tools and equipment.

The court heard Newman had broken into the school's administration shed initially, before stealing these items.

He then set a fire which damaged the administration shed, sports shed, canteen, change rooms, basketball court and all equipment within those areas.

Newman then made a call to Crime Stoppers in which he supplied false information about the school incident.

He later urged another man to provide him with a false alibi for the night of the fire.

Newman has been committed to be sentenced before the Lismore District Court, where he will first appear on February 3 next year.

He made no application for bail.


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