Arson: Man gets six-year imprisonment, six strokes of cane

|     Fadley Faisal     |

A LOCAL man was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment with six whippings after he pleaded guilty to committing mischief by setting fire to his foster mother’s house.

Haji Mohd Faizal bin Haji Wasli was first brought on April 7, 2018 and charged under Section 436 of the Penal Code for arson, which carries the penalty of life imprisonment.

He claimed trial to the charge.

However, before trial commenced, the defendant’s lawyer, Rozaiman Abdul Rahman, wrote a letter of representation for the charge to be reduced to Section 435 of the Penal Code which carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years’ imprisonment with maximum of six whippings.

The prosecution offered the alternative charge to which the defendant pleaded guilty to on December 26, 2018.

The charge carrying the life imprisonment penalty was withdrawn.

In mitigation, the defendant told the court through his legal representative that he was remorseful and apologised for the sorrow, discomfort and losses he had caused to the family.

He also apologised to his neighbour’s friend whom he had threatened at the time.

High Court Justice Pengiran Datin Paduka Hajah Rostaina binti Pengiran Haji Duraman, in handing the sentence, noted the need to impose a severe sentence to protect the public.

The court took into account the monetary loss estimated at about BND20,000 and the adoptive mother’s loss of her home and having to stay with a relative, causing her to be homeless.

On another note, the court noted the fact that no one was injured; however, the defendant’s actions were aggravated when a neighbour’s friend told the defendant to put out the fire but he ignored it and instead waved a machete towards the neighbour’s friend.

“The defendant’s actions were committed without caring for the safety of others, taking into account the extent of damages as seen from court photographs, and the defendant not doing anything to stop the fire,” said the High Court Justice.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Siti Nurjauinah binti Haji Kula’s facts of the case stated that the defendant was at home watching television at 3.20am on April 5, 2018 when he saw a programme showing fire-lit torch.

This prompted him to light his clothes on fire using a lighter, with the fire spreading to the walls. The defendant ran downstairs.

He further set fire to the toilet’s curtains on the ground floor.

This was when the neighbour’s friend noticed the fire, came up to the defendant and told him to put the fire out but was ignored by the defendant.

The defendant instead became angry and waved a machete towards the neighbour’s friend, scaring him.

The defendant left the house as the fire continued to spread.

By the time the fire spread to the second floor and was visible from outside, the neighbour’s friend called the Fire and Rescue Department to put it out.

A police report was lodged which led to the defendant’s arrest upon investigations.