By Poppy Morandin and Jimmy Singh.
Nine men have been charged over an explosion that left a 55-year-old woman with burns to her face, hands, chest, and legs.
The incident occurred at the woman’s residence in Sydney’s inner west in early June.
She had noticed a fire had struck on her front balcony late at night, which prompted her to investigate and attempt to extinguish the blaze.
Unfortunately, during this time the improvised explosive device (IED) detonated, with the “crudely made” device allegedly comprised of aerosol cans, firelighters, shrapnel, and thumb tacks.
The woman is reportedly still suffering physical and psychological scarring from the incident.
A 19-year-old man who was also home at the time was thankfully uninjured.
Strike Force Shalimah was established by the Burwood Police Area Command to investigate the incident, with charges laid on nine men aged between the ages of 17 – 20 years old.
The men have been identified as from Yagoona, Punchbowl, Croydon Park, Concord, Zetland, Malabar, and Wattle Grove.
Most recently, an 18-year-old was arrested at his residence in Campsie where a Mazda 3 was also seized for the purposes of forensic examination.
Detective chief inspector Ian Pryde has described it as a serious crime that had “the real potential to kill or seriously maim a person,”
“We will allege this was an act of retribution from an alleged theft of prohibited drugs belonging to criminal group members…We further allege this act at Canterbury was one of mistaken identity with a 55-year-old female having no involvement in any offence whatsoever.”
“These men are facing extremely serious charges, they’ve made a number of very bad decisions that have resulted in life-changing experiences for the victim involved,” he continued.
As they are improvised, such explosive devices can come in many forms, ranging from a sophisticated device with capability to cause large loss of life to small pipe bombs.
The elements of such devices usually consist of an initiator, switch, main charge, power source, and a container and may furthermore be surrounded by or packed with materials such as nails or glass to create a high degree of shrapnel propelled by explosion.
The damage caused by such a device will largely depend on the size of the device, its construction and proximity of placement to life or property.
Due to the capability of improvised explosive device to be moulded to any size or shape, they are often easily concealed, making such devices incredibly dangerous.
During arrests of members of the group, officers seized quantities of prohibited drugs, clothing, phones, and other items relevant to the investigation.
Five of the men have been charged with causing an explosive to explode with intent to maim or do grievous bodily harm, which is an offence pursuant to section 47 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
Law & Penalties for Causing an Explosive to Explode in NSW
This offence, under section 47 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) carries up to 25-years imprisonment.
A person will be guilty if the prosecution can prove beyond reasonable doubt, each of the following elements of the offence:
- An accused person causes an explosive or gunpowder to explode, or puts or lays at any place or casts or throws at any person an explosive substance; and
- The accused person does this with the intention to burn maim disfigure disable, or do grievous bodily harm to any person.
An accused person will be guilty whether or not the other person actually ends up being physically harmed.
Grievous bodily harm is any ‘really serious injury’ and includes any permanent or serious disfiguring of the person pursuant to section 4(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
However, the case of Haoui v R  NSWCCA 209 outlines that it does not require that the injuries be permanent or that the consequences of the injury are long lasting, or life threatening.
Have a question on the penalties and law on explosives in NSW? Call us for a free consult. We have 8 offices, including Sydney CBD, Parramatta and Blacktown criminal lawyers.