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Alleged arsonist 'seen leaving burning house'

A DUBLIN man has been charged with arson at a house he allegedly set alight while the occupants were inside.

Stephen Rock (49) is alleged to have been seen leaving the burning house.

The case against him was adjourned at Dublin District Court for the directions of the DPP to be made available.

Judge Michael Walsh granted bail despite garda objections.

Mr Rock, with an address at Cremona Road, Ballyfermot, is charged with arson and causing criminal damage to a property by fire.

The offences are alleged to have happened at Colepark Drive, Ballyfermot on July 12 last.

Objecting to bail, the prosecuting garda cited the seriousness of the charges and the strength of the proposed evidence against the defendant.

The garda said the allegation was that an occupied house was set alight and three people made statements saying they saw the accused leaving the scene.

There was an ongoing investigation.

Questioned by solicitor Niall O'Connor, the garda confirmed that the defendant had made no admissions in relation to any allegation.

The defendant was living in Coolock for the last two years, the court heard.

He was welcome to live at the Coolock address on an ongoing basis and gardai were satisfied with it.

Mr O'Connor said the defendant could be easily contacted, did not own a passport and had no intention of applying for any travel documents. He was long-term unemployed, on job seeker's allowance and was of "fairly limited means".

Mr O'Connor said the defendant enjoyed a presumption of innocence on the charges.

Judge Walsh set bail in the accused's own bond of €750.

Conditions were that he stays out of Ballyfermot and has no contact with the occupants of the house.

He adjourned the case to a date in September.