7 September 2022

Man allegedly set fire to neighbour's door, tried to stab him over bad music on radio

| Albert McKnight
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Coat of Arms on court building

Taylor John Jones, 27, has been refused bail over arson and assault charges. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

A man has been accused of setting fire to his neighbour’s door, burning himself in the process, then trying to stab him because his alleged victim refused to turn down his radio.

The alleged attack in central Canberra was a disproportionate response to someone playing bad music, prosecutor Mark Wadsworth told the ACT Magistrates Court.

“I don’t know, it depends how bad it was,” Special Magistrate Margaret Hunter remarked, clarifying she was being “facetious” and “tongue in cheek”.

Court documents allege Taylor John Jones heard loud music coming from his neighbour’s unit in Reid on Sunday afternoon (4 September) so knocked on his door and said, “Hey do you mind turning the bass down, or do I need to report you again?”

It’s alleged the pair got into an argument when the neighbour refused, then Jones later returned with a dog in his arms and yelled, “you wanna f-ing fight me and s-t”.

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Shortly afterwards, the 27-year-old allegedly grabbed an aerosol can and lighter, pierced the can with a knife, ignited the aerosol and used it to set the neighbour’s doorway on fire for a short time, also setting his pants on fire in the process.

When the neighbour came out and began throwing water from a bottle to put the fire out, Jones allegedly used a knife to slash at him several times, narrowly missing him.

Police arrived soon after and found Jones with burn marks on the knee of his pants, while his hair was also singed.

He did not enter pleas to charges of arson, assault and possessing a weapon with intent when he appeared in court over audio-visual link on Tuesday (6 September).

Legal Aid’s Jeremy Banwell applied for him to be released on bail – which Mr Wadsworth opposed – alleging it was his client who had been subjected to threats from his neighbour.

He also said Jones was trying to start his freelancing business and his three dogs had been taken to the pound because he was in custody, so he was keen to get them back as he didn’t know what would happen to them if he stayed behind bars.

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While Jones’ aunt offered to house him for a few days, Special Magistrate Hunter was not satisfied this was enough and, when combined with his criminal history that included similar offending, decided to refuse him bail.

She said Mr Banwell could perhaps make enquiries to ensure Jones’ dogs were looked after.

Jones looked like he was about to cry when told he would remain in custody, then later stood up from his seat and stood in the corner of his room.

His case was adjourned to 27 September.

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