SYDNEY — All agreed, including the accused, it was an offence that resulted from drunken stupidity.
The offence was arson and the accused, Craig Gordon Wall, 23, of Sydney, was sentenced Wednesday to serve 14 months in a provincial jail. The sentence of two years was reduced to 14 months after Wall was credited with the 10 months he served on remand.
In addition to the charge of arson, Wall was also sentenced on three counts of breaching court orders.
The fire occurred last July 20 at a single family home on Forrest Street in Sydney. Damage was centered in an apartment in the home.
Wall admitted he started the blaze by lighting a mattress on fire which quickly got out of control and he was unable to put out. A second man has also been charged with arson and is scheduled to stand trial in October.
Both men were drinking at the time and Wall admitted to police he likely would never had started the fire if he had not been drinking.
Prosecutor Christa MacKinnon said fires are always a danger for first responders along with nearby buildings.
"It may have been a stupid mistake but it could have resulted in a far more serious events," she said.
She noted that firefighters arrived on the scene just before 6 a.m. and didn't leave until 8 a.m. as the blaze restarted on two occasions.
Wall was living in the apartment with his mother at the time. The home was owned by a cousin.
Defence lawyer Doug MacKinley said his client now realizes the damaging effects alcohol has had on his life and is making a bid to end such abuse.
"I know what I did was wrong," said Wall, in addressing the court, adding he has signed on to several programs offered in jail to beat his addiction.
In addition to the jail sentence, provincial court Judge Brian Williston also ordered Wall to complete a one-year probation period and provide a DNA sample to the national registry.