Setting a fire is like unleashing a wild animal, the sentencing judge told two Red Deer teens who pleaded guilty to arson on Thursday.
The two Red Deer boys, aged 16 and 17, were each sentenced to serve one year on probation, including curfews and 20 hours of community service, before Judge Bert Skinner in Red Deer youth court.
Charges were laid by police who investigated fires at two different homes in the Vanier Woods subdivision shortly after midnight on May 5.
Both boys pleaded guilty to the May 5 fire with charges relating to a second fire on May 15 withdrawn by the Crown.
The names of the boys cannot be published under provisions of Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The two boys, both slim and well dressed, appeared with their parents and their lawyers, Gordon Yake for the younger boy and Michael Scrase for the other.
Crown prosecutor Tony Bell said fire was lit to a tarp covering the garage door and that the tarp melted as a result.
Yake described his client’s actions as an “incident of grave stupidity.”
He and Scrase both said their clients quickly realized the error of their ways and co-operated fully with police after being tracked by a police dog and subsequently arrested.
The sentence handed to them came about as a joint submission between the Crown and the defence.
The early guilty plea and the fact that neither boy had a prior criminal record were factors in the sentencing, as were each of their commitments to maintaining steady employment through the summer and their plans to continue working part-time while attending classes this fall.
After hearing the two fathers state that their sons would never again be called before the court, Skinner agreed to the conditions proposed in the joint submission, including a brief lecture on playing with fire.
“Fire is dangerous. It’s kind of like a wild animal. When you start it, you don’t know where it’s going to end up,” said Skinner.
“I think you’ve learned your lesson,” he said.