SA fire plotter drops conviction appeal


An Adelaide man who orchestrated a plot to set his wife's ex-boyfriend on fire has dropped an appeal against his conviction because he doesn't have a lawyer.

But a judge has granted the prisoner permission to return to court in the future, urging him to find legal representation or argue his case by himself if he has to.

Ben Corey Woodhart was in January jailed for at least eight years and eight months after he and his wife Kerry Leanne Ross were found to have caused serious injuries to two men in a fiery attack in Adelaide's north in November 2013.

The couple lured Ross's ex-boyfriend and another man to a remote car park under the guise of a drug deal before two hooded accomplices poured petrol through the car window and set them on fire.

The two victims suffered shocking burns that changed their lives and Woodhardt and Ross, both 29, were found guilty of aggravated counts of causing serious harm with intent and causing harm with intent.

Woodhardt immediately launched an appeal against his conviction. However, he has been unable to find a lawyer and withdrew the appeal on Wednesday.

Justice Martin Hinton QC would not comment on whether the appeal had merit but granted Woodhardt the opportunity to lodge it again.

"It is really a matter for you now. Who you can write to, who you can call," Justice Hinton said in the Court of Criminal Appeal.

"You're going to have to take responsibility on your shoulders and your shoulders alone."

The judge said Woodhardt could argue the case himself as a last resort.

"See if you yourself can mount an appeal," Justice Hinton said.

"Although I know it is a hard ask if you're not legally trained."

During sentencing, the District Court heard Woodhardt had been jealous of Ross's ex-boyfriend and had sent a series of angry emails to him in the weeks before the attack.

Ross received a lighter prison term than Woodhardt, with a non-parole period of four years and three months, because the sentencing judge accepted she didn't know the attack would involve fire.