Bomb accused denied bail

February 09, 2018

Police at the scene of a bomb scare at Mooroopna on Wednesday.

The man caught up in a significant police raid that drew the bomb squad to a Mooroopna home posed an ‘‘unacceptable risk’’ to the public, a court has heard.

Police officers raided the Mooroopna address of Stephen James Cleasby Jones, 33, on Wednesday where they arrested him.

The SPC employee was charged with 19 drug-related and weapons offences and appeared in Shepparton Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Mr Cleasby Jones, who was represented by Ms Karyn Werner, had his bail application refused and was remanded in custody until his next court appearance in May.

Informant Sergeant Thomas Young alleged police found a concoction of anabolic steroids, red phosphorus and iodine, along with the explosive substance triacetone triperoxide in a backyard shed where Mr Cleasby Jones lived.

The ingredients are traditionally used to manufacture methamphetamine and it is alleged these were found with cannabis, homemade firearms, ammunition, tasers, knuckle dusters, a baton and scientific glassware and flasks.

Specialist police from Melbourne’s Bomb Response Unit travelled to the address, where the chemicals were determined too unstable to move and needed to be detonated at the property.

The street remained in lockdown during the process and neighbours were forced to evacuate.

Addressing the court yesterday, Sgt Young said the accused had often transported small amounts of the chemicals through Mooroopna and as far as Geelong.

He said the accused did not rightfully comprehend the danger he was putting nearby residents in, and that the materials were often left exposed and in hazardous places.

Sgt Young said Mr Cleasby Jones had an inclination for ‘‘blowing things up’’ in bushland and police had been concerned about recent social media posts where he had written about his support for the ‘‘brothers holy war’’ as well as images of a Palestinian flag.

The court heard the accused was living with his father, a former drug support worker, and how he had battled through drug addiction and mental health issues.

Mr Cleasby Jones was denied bail, on the basis he posed a risk to the community.

He will appear in the Shepparton Magistrates’ Court on May 8, as police continue their investigations.

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