Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

A man accused of sparking a major emergency – causing police to shut down two Brisbane suburbs – after explosive devices were found inside his home earlier this week was just making “little firecrackers”, a court has been told.

Adam William Cheal, 42, appeared in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon, facing a string of charges, including manufacturing explosives and other weapons offenses.

Police will allege that Mr Cheal left his home at Wooloowin on Brisbane’s north side on Tuesday afternoon, after he threatened to kill someone at the house.

After leaving in his car, it is alleged explosive devices and a taser were found among his belongings, which prompted police to set up an exclusion zone in the surrounding streets.

The bomb squad carried out a controlled detonation of materials later that night.

Police cordon off a street at Wooloowin in Brisbane's inner-north
Police cordoned off a street at Wooloowin on Tuesday.(ABC News: Dean Caton)

Meanwhile, police tracked Mr Cheal – via triangulated mobile phone coordinates – to his car in a street in Coorparoo in Brisbane’s east.

A second exclusion zone was declared, before Mr Cheal was arrested after negotiations with officers from the special emergency response team (SERT).

Police allegedly uncovered knives and replica weapons, documentation falsely attributed to various government agencies, and surveillance equipment inside Mr Cheal’s car.

During a brief hearing on Thursday afternoon, a duty lawyer applied for bail on Mr Cheal’s behalf, which was opposed by the police.

Prosecutor Eddie Fraser told the court that Mr Cheal should remain in custody for the protection of himself and the public.

“With respect to the items that were located, the concern would be the combination of the defendant’s capability to re-offend in that way,” Mr Fraser told the court.

The court was told that Mr Cheal had undergone a mental health assessment while in custody, and his lawyer, Hellen Shilton, told the court that he suffered from a range of illnesses, including ADHD, arthritis, depression, anxiety and PTSD.

Ms Shilton told the court the major police operation was “not specifically as a result of his actions or any threat that his actions posed” and that her client disputed the death-threat allegation.

She told the court her client had been living at home with his partner and his mother-in-law and was facing sudden eviction by the partner’s sisters.

Ms Shilton said he became “so overborne by grief” after two men arrived at the home and “demanded that he leave immediately”, he had planned to self-harm.

“He decided to end his life, in doing that, he drove to Coorparoo and took more of the morphine than he should have in a deliberate attempt at suicide… and fell asleep,” she said.

“The next thing he remembers is police calling his name, he came to and eventually got out of the car.”

A Police van on the street.
Police declared an emergency incident under the Public Safety Preservation Act in Coorparoo on Tuesday.( ABC News: Jason Dasey)

Ms Shilton told the court her client had cooperated with police and made disclosures and admissions, including that the explosive devices were “tiny firecrackers” that he “unlawfully” makes himself.

The court was told that Mr Cheal had admitted to police that he was in possession of a “gel blaster” and a “stun gun”, which he acquired after an incident where he was “in fear of his life”.

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