Criminally negligent: Man free after leaving house to burn
A COURT has heard how a man hitchhiked to Bundaberg from Sharon while he let an abandoned house burn.
Lex Power, 39, pleaded guilty in Bundaberg District Court to one count of arson.
In November last year Power went into an abandoned house in Sharon after he had injected himself with ice.
When inside the home he tried turning on lights which weren't working so resorted to using a candle from the cupboard before falling asleep.
Power was later woken by his own coughing and found the house was on fire with one of the candles having started the blaze.
He then ran out of the home and hitchhiked to Bundaberg.
Crown prosecutor Erin Kelly told the court an insurance claim was made on the home with the fire causing $228,980 worth of damage.
Ms Kelly said Power had a criminal history and had been before the courts since 2005.
She said Power made admissions to police about lighting the candles and leaving the property while it burned.
Ms Kelly said Power was to be sentenced on the basis that he was criminally negligent by lighting the candles.
She submitted three years imprisonment was in range as an appropriate punishment.
Power's barrister Nick Larter told the court his client didn't deliberately light the fire and that no one else but his client was put at risk.
Mr Larter said while previously in custody his client engaged with the St Vincent De Paul's Society to enrol in a rehab program which he successfully completed.
He said his client had shown the ability to successfully report and comply with parole orders.
Mr Larter submitted two and a half or three years imprisonment with an immediate parole release was in range for his client.
Judge Tony Moynihan took into account Power's plea of guilty and accepted it came at an early opportunity.
Judge Moynihan also took into account Power was to be sentenced on the basis he was criminally negligent by leaving the candle to burn while it was unattended and then left the home.
He also took into account Power's remorse for his actions.
Power was sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment with an immediate parole release.
91 days of pre-sentence custody was declared as time already served.
Convictions were recorded.