Bomb maker on run as housemate faces court
NICHOLAS Hart always knew those close to him didn't think he was a bomb maker - now, he says, the world knows.
The 37-year-old Agnes Water boat driver on Tuesday narrowly avoided a jail term after being caught in possession of three handmade explosives in his home.
Gladstone Magistrate's Court heard Hart's former flatmate was wanted by Australia's terrorist-hunting police, ASIO, and that swayed Magistrate Shaun Shearer to give the accused the benefit of the doubt.
He was given a three-month prison sentence suspended for three years for possessing three homemade bombs, and drug charges he admitted to in court.
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A vindicated Hart said it had been difficult facing court when the bombs belonged to someone else.
"It's a pretty hard sentence, but it's guilty by association," he said.
Defence lawyer Cassandra Ditchfield said that Hart kicked out his flatmate for making the explosives.
Hart then found the bombs - made from cans and modified shot-gun pellets - after his housemate left.
She said Hart stored the explosives on a laundry shelf because "he couldn't just throw them in the rubbish".
Outside court, Hart said: "This guy's left stuff behind and obviously it's really serious stuff."
"What people think of me is none of my business. The people that matter to me know the truth of it."
However, Magistrate Shearer was dubious about Hart's story.
"Why would someone who found bombs in their home leave them sitting there for weeks and weeks?" he asked.
"People who are in possession of bombs that kill and maim people are committing a very serious offence.
"If any had detonated it would obviously cause damage and possibly kill someone."
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Emma Bonnyman confirmed to the judge that the former flatmate, who they did not name, was a person of interest and ASIO had taken investigations over.
The trail went cold at a temporary address in Western Australia.
The bombs were found in a drug raid two weeks ago.
A conviction against Hart was recorded.