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Argument over rugby shorts leads to arson, three-year jail term

Argument over  rugby shorts  leads to arson,  three-year jail term
December 30
17:50 2017

High Court Judge, Justice Salesi Temo, has sentenced a 22-year-old man to three years imprisonment for setting fire to the house of a 54-year-old market vendor.

On November 14 last year, at a village in Rewa the accused, Etuate Serevi wilfully and unlawfully set fire to the house after a disagreement arose between him and a 31-year-old complainant who was staying at the house.

Earlier that day Serevi questioned the complainant about his rugby shorts which the complainant said he knew nothing about.

This upset the accused, who threatened to burn the house the complainant lived in.

He later went to the house, opened a wooden window, took a mattress that was inside and used a white gas lighter to set the mattress on fire.

Then he burned a t-shirt and threw it inside the house which quickly caught fire.

The complainant, who was at his father’s home saw the house ablaze, rushed to put out the fire, but he was too late because the house was razed to the ground.

Justice Temo stated that an aggravating factor was how the accused had no regard for others’ property.

“The owner of the house, who is a market vendor, had worked hard to build her house in 1986 and had spent $25,000 on it,” he said.

“A lot of money and energy is used to build a person’s house in the village. It is a personal sacrifice.

“Yet within a few minutes you took away the fruits of their hard work by burning down their house. You were extremely cruel and I only hope no one does the same thing to you when you turn 54.”

Serevi was told that he should not have taken the law into his own hands, but should have lodged a complaint with police.

He was ordered to serve a minimum term of two years imprisonment before he could be eligible for parole.

Edited by Percy Kean

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