Deep hatred led to plan to blow up fish and chip shop
A COURT has found that a deep hatred for his former landlord and a compounding debt led a man to try to blow up a Far North Coast fish and chip shop.
Joseph Palermo, 40, of Pacific Pines in Queensland, has this week faced a hearing into two alleged attempts to destroy Menniti Seafoods in Tweed Heads with explosive devices.
Palermo this morning attended Tweed Heads Local Court, supported by family and friends, to hear his verdict.
He had pleaded not guilty to two counts of dishonestly, with a view to a gain, damaging property by fire for two incidents on January 7 and 11, 2014.
Magistrate Lisa Stapleton dismissed these primary charges, but found him guilty of two lesser charges of attempting to intentionally damage property by fire or explosive.
Ms Stapleton said she was convinced the defendant had a "serious dislike" of the property's owner, Luciano Menniti.
Palermo had already served a custodial sentence in Queensland for the unlawful stalking of Luciano Menniti and possessing a firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence less than a week after the second bombing incident.
Ms Stapleton was also convinced he had created and placed sparkler bombs at the shop.
This included a device near gas bottles, which were left overturned and open, on January 7, 2014.
Another device was found inside a Nissan Navara, which Palermo agreed to steal from his former manager.
After seizing devices from his home, police found a document labelled "Joe's to-do list", which included a discussion of debts in excess of $1.6 million and a plan to shoot his former landlord.
He allegedly wrote he was "probably better of just going and shooting the fat c*** between the eyes".
The note suggested Palermo would be comfortable spending ten years in jail, suggesting it would resolve some of his financial woes.
Police also found a list of 40 recipes for bombs, including a napalm-like substance similar to that found in the Nissan Navara.
Ms Stapleton said she was satisfied Palermo had driven the car into the River Terrace building on January 11, 2014.
But she was now, however, satisfied there was insufficient evidence to prove Palermo believed he would gain anything from the destruction, which meant the primary charges were not made out.
While defence solicitor Carl Edwards asked for the matter to be adjourned to allow a pre-sentence report, Ms Stapleton said such a report was not required for Palermo's matter.
He is expected to be sentenced on the lesser charges later today.