5 Dec 2014

Closing submissions in storage fire case

4:10 pm on 5 December 2014

The Crown has told the High Court in Wellington there is compelling evidence against the man accused of setting a fire in a storage unit, which caused millions of dollars of damage.

Fire crews at the Kiwi Self Storage facility.

Fire crews battling the fire earlier this year. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Angelo Bitossi, 35, is before the court on one charge of arson relating to a fire at the Kiwi Self Storage facility in Kilbirnie in April this year.

Crown prosecutor Sally Carter said Mr Bitossi had a cap of the sort shown in CCTV footage from the scene and his car was similar in size and shape to one shown in footage from near the storage unit site.

She said the cap had the defendant's DNA on it, and no one else's, and that could have happened as a result of him sweating due to wearing layers of heavy clothing and setting the fire.

Ms Carter said a cap found at the scene had his DNA on it and no one else's, and the person who lit the fire would have been sweating a lot.

"They've arrived in bulk clothing, they're carrying a tank that's got petrol inside it and we've seen them quickly go across the premises.

The Crown say they went upstairs, discarded the clothing and then have made a dash for it. "Moreover, they lit a fire - which no doubt would've warmed them up even more."

But the defence said the cap was planted at the scene. Lawyer Douglas Ewen said one of the Crown witnesses, James Brodie, was at his the accused's home on the night of the fire and could have taken the cap himself.

Mr Ewen said said Mr Brodie had a reason and opportunity to start the fire and was linked to every piece of physical evidence presented by the Crown.

Justice Simon France reserved his decision and would deliver his verdict next Thursday.

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