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A farmer, who admitted to setting fire to a shack built by a squatter on his property, has been released on $30,000 bail.

Mason “Birdman” Maynard, 30, of St Augustine, pleaded guilty to malicious damage when he appeared virtually before Magistrate Adrian Darmanie, yesterday morning.

According to the evidence presented during the hearing, Maynard was accused of setting fire to the wooden structure, last Thursday.

After Maynard pleaded guilty to the offence, his attorney Bhimal Maharajh sought to give an explanation on his behalf.

Maharajh told the court that on the day before the incident, Maynard went to his property in Kelly Village, Caroni, to check on his livestock.

He noticed the victim, who was on his land and in the process of constructing the wooden structure.

Maharajh claimed that his client asked the victim to desist and informed him that he was trespassing on private property.

He alleged that when Maynard returned the following day, the victim was not there and the structure had been completed.

He claimed that Maynard became enraged and set fire to the structure, which was valued at $4,000.

Although Maynard pleaded guilty to the offence, he was not immediately sentenced by Darmanie as his criminal record was not available for the hearing due to an issue with the T&T Police Service (TTPS)’s fingerprint database at the time.

Darmanie is also expected to consider a victim impact statement when eventually considering the appropriate sentence for Maynard. As Maynard pleaded guilty at a preliminary stage, he would be afforded a one-third discount on his sentence.

Maynard is expected to reappear in court on March 17.