Accused burger shop arsonist ‘refusing’ to front court

February 1, 2024 by AAP
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A man accused of torching a burger shop in Melbourne has refused to appear before a magistrate due to a severe injury.

Pro-Palestine protesters jeer at press and pro-Israel protesters outside the burnt-out remains of Burgertory Caufield. (Photo by Alex Zucco / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Wayle Mana, 25, has been charged with arson, robbery, theft of motor vehicle and other offences after he and another man allegedly set fire to a Burgertory shop in Caulfield in November.

On the same day, it is alleged the 25-year-old was involved in the theft and robbery of a Mercedes sedan and assault in Doncaster.

The Preston man also faced charges over the alleged arson of a tobacco store fire in Bendigo on Monday which resulted in more than $4 million worth of damage.

The tobacco store fire is not related to the ongoing battle over illicit tobacco, with more than 30 shops firebombed.

Mana was taken to hospital with a severe injury on his leg after police arrested him on Wednesday, defence lawyer Charles Nikakis said.

“He is refusing to come into court,” he told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday.

“It would be painful to come up knowing that it is a straight remand.”

Police prosecutor Jessica van Dyk requested an additional four weeks for investigators to produce a DNA report and transcribe a telephone intercept in foreign language.

The Burgertory incident ignited a firestorm at the time after the shop’s owner linked it to his involvement in a pro-Palestine rally and labelled it a hate crime.

Hours after the owner made the claim, two groups of about 200 people clashed near a synagogue and the Burgertory store.

Victoria Police now say although the fire was deliberately lit there was no evidence it was racially or politically motivated.

The second man is set to face the Magistrates Court tomorrow (Friday).



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