Corda charged over Brierfield fire

This Brierfield house was burnt to the ground in December last year.Police allege Glenn Kenneth Corda of Brierfiled paid two teenagers to commit arson on a neighbour’s home.
Nanjing Night Net

Corda was last week extradited from Queensland following his arrest as the alleged ‘key player and organiser’ behind the fire, which burnt a 100-year-old Brierfield house to the ground last year.

Corda aged 47, appeared in the Tweed Heads Local Court on Saturday (June 30) after his arrest in Mackay on Wednesday (June 27).

Police allege he paid two youths $500 each after they broke into the Rigney Rd property, doused his former neighbour’s home with petrol and set it alight.

On the night of the fire in December, last year, the 49-year-old property owner Mark Taylor had been out to dinner in Bellingen.

The court was told he returned home around 10.30pm and discovered his house engulfed in flames. Fighting the fire in vain he suffered burns to his hands.

Despite the efforts of responding fire crews, the home and its contents, valued at almost $400,000 were completely destroyed.

Police began their investigation after finding traces of petrol at the scene

At the height of the fire a gold coloured Holden ute was seen fleeing the scene at high speed.

Detectives later established that vehicle allegedly belonged to Blake O’Connor, an 18-year-old who is before the courts charged with arson after his arrest in May in Coffs Harbour.

A 17-year-old male, arrested at Mulwala in May, is also facing charges in the Children’s Court as an accomplice.

Police allege Corda became the main suspect in the arson case given his ongoing dispute with Mark Taylor, which had resulted in court orders.

Investigating detectives then used legal phone taps to collect evidence against him.

During one of the conversations police monitored they were allegedly tipped off that Corda and others were growing cannabis in state forests near Bellingen. Officers acted in March and seized two crops and a total of 348 plants up to 2.5 metres in height.

Tendering the case against Corda in the Mackay Magistrates Court last week, police alleged he was the ‘mastermind’ of the act of arson and was known to be a ‘stand-over man’, who was ‘well entrenched in organised crime’ and the Bellingen drug trade.

In the extradition hearing, the crown said police held safety concerns for witnesses and the co-accused in the case.

Corda was taken to Tweed Heads Police Station and charged as an accessory before the fact to aggravated break and enter and a serious indictable offence, cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis, supplying a prohibited drug and contravening an apprehended violence order.

He appeared in a bail court hearing on Saturday.

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