Man jailed six years for causing fire in Gadong building

|     Fadley Faisal     |

THE High Court yesterday handed a six-year jail sentence to a 57-year-old local man for committing arson at the Halimatul Saadiah Building in Gadong in the wee hours of April 4, 2018.

Ahmad bin Haji Tamin pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 435 (1)(c) of the Penal Code of committing mischief by setting fire to a vendor booth located on the ground floor of the building, sometime between 2am and 3am on April 4, with the intention of causing damage to property inside a building.

Chief Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong, upon considering the facts of the case, was of the view that the defendant’s grievance against the owner of the booth which was set on fire does not mitigate his criminal act.

“The defendant’s act was “premeditated and deliberate, motivated by revenge”, the Chief Justice noted, adding that “as such, a severe sentence is necessary for the protection of the public”, after considering mitigating factors of the case.

According to DPP Nurul Fitri binti Kiprawi’s facts of the case, the defendant entered Halimatul Saadiah Building and set fire to a booth belonging to a woman, using a bottle of kerosene.

The fire spread through the building and was eventually put out by the Fire and Rescue Department after a tenant of the building alerted the police.

About 100 tenants had to be evacuated, with one tenant suffering injuries during the evacuation.

The damages caused by the fire has been estimated to be over BND134,000.

The defendant surrendered himself to the police the following day, and admitted that he set fire to the booth inside the building because he was driven by feelings of ill will and revenge towards the woman, as she often argued with his wife and made accusations against him and his wife.

Lawyer Rozaiman Abdul Rahman, who represented the defendant, applied for the defendant’s personal belongings not relating to the case to be returned to the defendant.

The application was granted by the High Court.