Raymond Harland Hubbard pleads not guilty to burning three teens in Little Barber Street fire in Gunnedah

A DISTRICT court trial date has been set for late next year for a man accused of burning three teenagers in a backyard explosion at a party in Gunnedah.

Date set: Raymond Harland Hubbard leaves Tamworth court this year after appearing on charges stemming from a backyard explosion. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Date set: Raymond Harland Hubbard leaves Tamworth court this year after appearing on charges stemming from a backyard explosion. Photo: Gareth Gardner

Hubbard appeared in the court and said he was “not guilty” to three charges of causing grievous bodily harm to three teenage boys and was reckless to causing actual bodily harm on or about November 6, last year, in Gunnedah.

He said grievous bodily harm (GBH) “is one of the issues” and “whether or not he acted recklessly”, during the incident in the backyard at a birthday party in Little Barber Street.

“There was an offer made to plead to a negligent act not a reckless act,” Mr Bouveng said.

The plea offer – which the court earlier heard was made in June before the case was adjourned – was to a charge of committing a negligent act causing harm which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison.

Crime scene: Forensic officers comb the backyard of a Little Barber St property where the explosion occurred on November 6. Photo: Sam Woods

Crime scene: Forensic officers comb the backyard of a Little Barber St property where the explosion occurred on November 6. Photo: Sam Woods

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) rejected the offer and elected to head to trial on the three GBH-related charges which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, if found guilty.

Judge Jeffery McLennan was told the trial would likely span between two and four days, with the earliest trial date available in Tamworth in October, 2018.

He set the trial down in the October sittings and said “medical reports that the crown relies on … that is above and beyond” what has already been served in the brief of evidence, need to be served on the defence by mid-August, next year.

“Bail is to continue,” Judge McLennan told Hubbard.

It’s the Crown’s case that Hubbard poured an accelerant on a fire at a birthday party in the backyard of a Little Barber Street property, sparking an explosion which burnt three teenagers.

All three boys were rushed to Tamworth hospital for their injuries before two of the boys were airlifted to a Sydney hospital for specialist treatment.