Church arson denied

01:40, Mar 06 2014

A New Plymouth woman has pleaded not guilty to burning down St Philomena's Catholic Church.

Donna Joy Esma Mischeski is charged with the arson of the Brooklands church in New Plymouth on January 6.

The church, on the grounds of St Pius primary school, was totally gutted along with the school's library.

Today in the New Plymouth District Court Mischeski's lawyer Jo Woodcock told Judge Allan Roberts that her client pleaded not guilty and elected a trial by judge alone.

There would be no application made for continued name suppression.

Judge Roberts further remanded Mischeski on bail for a case review on May 15 and noted name suppression had lapsed.

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A group of about 10 mostly elderly people, several of whom were family members, supported Mischeski in court.

Outside, her brother-in-law Laurie Koch said Mischeski had extensive mental health issues and should be in supportive care.

 "She needs to be put in a home," Mr Koch said.

Taranaki Daily News