A Berkeley man charged with property damage over allegations he flooded Hoyts Warrawong earlier this year has had his plea of guilty annulled on appeal.
Sani Primorac, 46, was in the middle of a five-year ban from Warrawong Plaza when he arrived at the centre’s cinema about 7.40pm on July 3, and disappeared into its unisex foyer restroom.
Police will allege he held a cigarette lighter to a ceiling-mounted sprinkler, setting off a fire alarm and causing multiple sprinkler heads to spew a large volume of water onto the foyer floor.
He allegedly emerged moments later completely drenched in water, before making his way to the candy bar, where he used the cinema’s telephone to dial triple-zero.
He was still at the phone, speaking to the operator, when firefighters and police arrived about 7.55pm.
Cinema-goers were evacuated before Primorac was arrested and charged with destroying property and entering enclosed lands.
During his initial bail application in court the following day, Primorac told the magistrate he would plead guilty, admitting he had been smoking a cigarette inside the toilet cubicle which had set the alarm off.
He asked to be sentenced to a month in jail for his alleged crime.
However, Priomrac sought to have that plea withdrawn when he appeared in court again on Tuesday, claiming he had been mentally unwell at the time of his arrest.
“When he entered the guilty plea he was not of sound mind,” defence lawyer Jonathan Kearney said.
The court heard Primorac suffered from schizophrenia.
Magistrate Imad Abdul-Karim agreed to reverse the plea, saying he was satisfied to do so was in the public interest.
Mr Kearney formally entered a plea of not guilty to the damage property chargh and a guilty plea to entering enclosed lands.
The case was adjourned to October 3 for further mention.
Meantime, Magistrate Abdul-Karim agreed to reduce Primorac’s reporting days from three to one per week.