Man in suburban explosives drama told to make sure his fireworks fascination fizzles

A man who “dabbled” in fireworks has been advised to find another hobby after two emergencies were sparked by his interest and criminal history.

Sep 29, 2022, updated Sep 29, 2022
Adam William Cheal departs the Brisbane Magistrate's Court. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

Adam William Cheal departs the Brisbane Magistrate's Court. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

Police were called to Wooloowin, north of Brisbane in May when explosive items were found at a house after Adam William Cheal was forced to move out, a court has been told.

Investigators who also discovered a Taser, handcuffs and knives cordoned off that property, together with an area in Cooparoo when Cheal was found sitting in a car.

Police, concerned about his criminal history, feared Cheal had some sort of a device strapped to his chest, Brisbane Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.

That turned out to be a bum bag and the now 43-year-old was taken into custody without further incident.

Cheal had been sentenced to six years behind bars in 2008 after he and another person mixed two substances they had taken to Carindale shopping centre in a bucket.

“It started to smoke (and) one of the employees has gone over and it’s exploded and burnt his face and arms,” police prosecutor Sergeant Wade Domagala said.

Cheal was convicted of offences including attempting to injure by explosive or noxious substances and acts intending to maim disfigure or disable.

As a result the officer who arrested Cheal in May regarded him as “clearly a very dangerous person when allowed to dabble with explosive material”, Domagala told the court.

Cheal’s lawyer Hellen Shilton said there were unusual circumstances in the case with “heightened drama and media attention” together with uncertainty during early stages of court proceedings about the seriousness of the explosives.

Cheal was also emotionally devastated at being forced to separate from his partner on the day events occurred.

She told the court police found a relatively small amount of potassium nitrate, sulphur and magnesium used to make firecrackers and in theatrical productions for special effects.

The court heard Cheal had completed pyrotechnics and weapons courses, and worked for a fireworks company and as a security guard before being convicted of the 2007 offences.

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He had fascination for fireworks, but had learnt at great personal cost it was not an interest he can afford to engage in, Shilton said.

“He has asked me to offer his apologies for, in his words, all the drama that he has caused,” she added.

Magistrate Kyna Morice said Cheal made “terrible decisions” after finding an interest in fireworks against a backdrop of his learning and intellectual difficulties.

But she found it “extraordinary” that after his earlier conviction Cheal continued to engage in his hobby.

“I encourage you to, very sincerely, find a different hobby,” Morice told Cheal.

He was sentenced to a 134-day jail term, the period that he has already spent behind bars since his arrest on May 17.

Cheal pleaded guilty to five charges including manufacturing and possessing explosives, with a further four charges dropped by prosecutors.

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