Adam Troy Parker: Jailed arsonist launches appeal after NYE wedding rampage in Warrnambool

A wedding guest who burned down his friend’s home in a drunken arson attack has appealed his jail sentence, arguing the fire didn’t place lives at risk.

Adam Troy Parker, 45, appeared in the Victorian Court of Appeal on Monday, in an effort to have his conviction for conduct endangering life overturned.

Parker was jailed for seven years in late 2022 after a jury found him guilty of burning down his friend’s Warrnambool public housing premises during a drunken rampage two years earlier.

He and three others had attended a wedding on New Year’s Eve in 2020, but continued to celebrate ringing in the new year after the reception ended.

Over the course of the evening, the party turned sour after alcohol-fuelled arguments broke out between Parker and the others.

The former forklift driver punched one man after accusing him of stealing alcohol, and threatened to burn down the home after the host asked him to leave.

The three guests fled, two sheltering in a caravan just meters from the home, as a fire soon broke out in a bedroom.

The ensuing blaze caused almost $110,000 in damage to the home and killed a dog.

“You may not have realised the dog was in the house, but this is precisely the kind of unforeseen consequence which flows from behaviour so thoughtless and so dangerous,” Judge Anne Hassan said sentencing Parker.
“It is a shocking breach of trust.”

The court was told the trial was run strictly on the issue of identity — whether Parker was behind the blaze — but his lawyer, Rohan Barton, now argues Judge Hassan made a mistake.

Mr Barton said the judge had directed the jury that if they found he had lit the fire, it “flows” that they should find him guilty of endangering the lives of those in the caravan.

He said at the trial he didn’t argue the point, but, on reflection, he’s taken “a different view”.

“My primary case is the objective argument should have been left to the jury,” he said.

“That element should not have automatically been removed by the trial judge.”

Mr Barton said it could have been open to the jury to find his client lit the fire, but that Parker could not have foreseen the risk because he knew the other guests had fled.

Arguing against the appeal, chief crown prosecutor Brendan Kissane KC argued the trial would have been run differently if more than the identity of the perpetrator was in question.

“You have evidence of him doing something inherently dangerous and an indifference to the presence of people,” he said.

“One could draw the conclusion he was reckless as to the risk.”

Presiding over the case, Justices Richard Niall, Christopher Boyce and Simon Whelan reserved their judgment to be handed down at a later date.

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