On April 2nd, 2013, at approximately 7:45 pm, EMS responders attended a working fire in a compound shed near the Canad Inns Stadium on Maroons Rd.
The fire was extinguished and no injuries were reported. Damage was estimated at $300,000 to the structure and contents. As a result of the continuing investigation by members of the Arson Strike Force, two (16) year old males, two (17) year old males and a (16) year old female have been arrested in connection with the incident.
All of the youths were charged with one (1) count of Arson – damage to property and were released to appear in Court at a later date.
On April 24, 2013 I attended the Public Safety Building and was present for the press conference when the information related to these arrests was released.
I find attending these press conferences to be quite entertaining. As an experienced Law Enforcement Officer, I often find myself biting my tongue when members of the media pose certain questions to the Public Information Officer.
I found myself biting down hard today when a member of the media asked PIO Patrol Sergeant Natalie Aitken what kind of sentence might be expected if these youths were found guilty of the charge laid by Police.
Given the fact the youths charged with this offence had no previous Police record and the YCJA has absolutely no teeth, I wondered if it was a serious question. Couple that with the fact Young Offenders in Canada barely see the inside of a jail cell for Murder, I think I’m safe in assuming these kids likely won’t get much more than a slap on the wrist for a charge of Arson.
I would be happy to be proved wrong.
Arson — damage to property
Every person who intentionally or recklessly causes damage by fire or explosion to property that is not wholly owned by that person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.