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Judge sends arsonist to Prison for 29 months

A man, who set fire to a house in Nasinu last year, was sentenced to two years and five months imprisonment by the High Court in Suva yesterday. The accused,
19 Jun 2018 14:14
Judge sends arsonist to Prison for 29 months

A man, who set fire to a house in Nasinu last year, was sentenced to two years and five months imprisonment by the High Court in Suva yesterday.

The accused, Navitalai Naivalu,  who had pleaded guilty to the offence was sentenced by Justice Thushara Rajasinghe and was ordered to serve a minimum of 17 months in prison before he could be eligible for parole.

According to the summary of facts which he openly admitted in court, on July 2, 2017, the accused found that his house was locked and his de facto partner was not there.

He then went to the house in question looking for his partner. However, the house owner lied to him saying that his partner was not there.

The accused was drunk at the time and he forcefully entered the house and poured kerosene from the stove before setting fire to the house.

During sentencing Justice Rajasinghe told Naivalu that arson was a serious offence which carried a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

“Burning down of any dwelling house or commercial property could adversely affect the occupants or the owners of those properties,” he said.

Justice Rajasinghe selected two years imprisonment as the starting point as there was no danger to human life.

The court heard that Naivalu had been living in the house with his partner and two daughters.

“Due to this crime, your partner and the two daughters lost their house and also belongings,” Justice Rajasinghe said.

“You have breached the trust reposed in you by your partner and two daughters.”

The accused has nine previous convictions, five of which were recorded within the last 10 years.

Justice Rajasinghe said Naivalu’s personal and family background had no mitigatory value as he had committed the crime against his own family.

His early guilty plea was considered as an expression of remorse in committing the crime.

A permanent domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) was also imposed against him with standard non-molestation and no contact conditions.

The DVRO will be in force until the High Court or any other competent court varies or suspends it.

Further, the accused was warned that if he breaches the restraining order, he would be charged and prosecuted for an offence pursuant to Section 77 of the Domestic Violence Act. He was given 30 days to appeal.

Edited by Percy Kean

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