Corda remanded in custody

This Brierfield house was burnt to the ground in December last year.The alleged organiser of a fire that burnt a Brierfield home to the ground was remanded in custody when he appeared in the Coffs Harbour Local Court today (July 3)

Police allege Glenn Kenneth Corda of Brierfield paid two teenagers to commit arson.

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

Corda, 47, appeared in the Coffs Harbour Local Court today (July 3) after his arrest in Mackay on Wednesday (June 27). He was remanded in custody to appear again on September 11.

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.

After finding traces of petrol at the scene, police began their investigation.

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 at Park Beach.

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 this 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 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.

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