Thursday, December 25, 2008

Court hears Polish man who set fire to wife

A Polish man set fire to his wife during a row over his online gambling, it was claimed in the High Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutors alleged that Olgierd Wasilewski, 28, poured lighter fluid over her and set her alight with a cigarette lighter at their home in Lisburn, Co Antrim.

Crown counsel Christine Smith told the court the woman suffered superficial burns and had to have hair cut off following the alleged attack.

But a defence lawyer disputed the case against Wasilewski, claiming the accused`s wife had a history of self-harm.

Wasilewski, a computer programmer from Lagan Walk, Lisburn, faces charges of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent and criminal damage over the incident on October 25.

He was granted bail after a judge was told he could stay with another Polish national in the Dromore area.

Mr Justice Treacy banned Wasilewski from going into Lisburn apart from to work, and ordered him to have no contact with his wife.

The court heard police found the accused and his wife in the kitchen of their home after being phoned for help by a man.

Mrs Smith said: "The injured party confirmed she had an argument with the defendant over his online gambling and had hidden the router to prevent him accessing the internet."

The barrister claimed Wasilewski poured lighter fluid over her when she refused to tell him where the computer equipment was.

But Conn O`Neill, counsel for the accused, said his client enjoyed a presumption of innocence and had set out his defence during police interview.

After hearing both sides Mr Justice Treacy made clear that it was not for him to decide on claims that the woman set fire to herself.

Referring to the charge against Wasilewski, he also noted: "It`s a pretty outrageous state of affairs if it turns out to be true."

However, the judge ruled that the accused be released on stringent conditions, which included cash sureties being lodged with the court.