Canberra man accused of Australian Christian Lobby explosion dies

The Canberra man who was charged with causing an explosion outside the headquarters of the Australian Christian Lobby has died.

The 36 year old man was facing fight charged of arson and property damage in relation to the event last December, his lawyers had indicated he would be claiming he was suffering mental impairment at the time of the incident.

ACT police have confirmed they attended the “non-suspicious death” of a man on Sunday afternoon, it is believed that he died by suicide.

Police said investigations were ongoing and a report would be prepared for the coroner. The man faced court in April was on bail waiting trial over the December incident.

The man allegedly hired a van from Canberra airport and then bought four 8.5 litre gas bottles. The next evening he parked the van in front of Deakin House, a building which houses the Australian Christian Lobby, and set some of the canisters alight.

The resulting explosion caused major damage to the building and destroyed the van. The man was captured on CCTV walking towards a Canberra hospital where he sought treatment for severe burns. He was later transferred to Sydney hospital where he was treated for burns and mental health issues.

In an interview with police he said he was trying to end his life and was not affiliated with any groups. Court documents revealed that the man told police he chose the ACL building because he dislike the organisation and “religions had failed”.

Today lawyer Peter Woodhouse, of Ben Aulich and Associates, told Fairfax Media that his client’s family had informed of him of the man’s death.

“This event compounds that this has always been a mental health issue – and nothing more that that, despite what those opposite would like to assert.”Woodhouse said.

Woodhouse encouraged anyone experiencing mental health challenges to seek help. The case was due back in court in November, but it expected the charges will now be abated.

OIP Staff

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