Court: Suspended Sentence For Willful Damage

June 9, 2022

A man who pleaded guilty to willful damage in connection with car fires was given a suspended sentence, with the Judge noting the accused was the recent victim of a burgled home shortly prior to his commission of the offence and he was unable to retrieve his medication.

Justis Iris appeared before the Court for sentence following his guilty pleas to Counts 2 and 3 charging him with willful damage; the Crown did not proceed with Count 1 [arson] which was left on the file.

The court heard that in June 2019, a woman parked her car at someone’s residence, where their car was also parked “some 6 feet from his kitchen door which was positioned only 3 feet from 2 gas cylinders connected to the kitchen stove.”

At approximately 3:00am on June 28 2019, the person “discovered that his car was engulfed in flames. So he ran back inside to get his family out of the house given the proximity of the gas cylinders.”

“Several persons attended the scene and made efforts to extinguish the flames” and “after the flames were controlled” they “noticed a white rag, smelling strongly of gasoline, which was placed on the right side of the windshield of her car. ”

The damage to one car totaled $6,101, and the other car was damaged beyond repair.

At approximately 10:40am later that same morning, Justis Iris — who the court heard “was said to suffer from Bipolar Disorder” — turned himself into the police station and admitted under caution interview to having set the two vehicles on fire.

In making the ruling, Puisne Judge Shade Subair Williams said, “I found that there was good reason to suspend a custodial sentence in this case. The Accused was the recent victim of a burgled home shortly prior to his commission of the offence. Searching for his medication, he sought to cool his passion which was aggravated by his mental disorder.

“However, he was unable to retrieve his medication and this Court accepted, without any controversy raised by the Crown, that it was entirely plausible that his medication had been maliciously moved during the course of the burglary. These unique factors constituted a good reason for suspending his sentence in my judgment.

“Having had regard to all of the circumstances of the commission of the offence and the character and circumstances of the Accused, I directed that the Accused be sentenced to a term of 9 months imprisonment to be suspended for a 2 year period. This was to be served in 5 combination with a probation sentence of 2 years.”

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