Judge suspends sentence for teenage fire-starter

| 11/03/2013

(CNS): A teenage boy who admitted setting two fires while being held in the sub-standard jail cells at both West Bay and George Town lock-ups was sentenced to nine months in prison for two counts of arson Friday but, given the circumstances surrounding the case, the judge suspended the sentence and placed the young man on a two year probation order. The teen had set the two fires after he claimed he was mistreated and ignored by guards while held on remand on suspicion of burglary for some seven days in the now notorious conditions at the police stations when he was just sixteen.

Justice Alexander Henderson said the defendant had already spent four months in custody since he was charged with these offences, which he suggested was sufficient punishment, before placing him on probation. The judge was swayed by the teen’s claim of being ignored as he had been left in the cell for some time after he set the second fire in George Town, evidenced by the damage the young man suffered to his lungs before he was rescued.

During the sentencing hearing the judge had raised some pointed questions about why a juvenile was being held in the police cells so long on suspicion of burglary without charge and what the European Court of Human rights would have to say about such a situation.

The court heard that the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was held for two days in the cells in West Bay, and after being badly treated by officers and several failed attempts to get attention, he set the first fire using a lighter. The officers managed to remove the youngster from his cell and no one was hurt. He was then transferred to George Town, where, the court heard, he was kept for a further five days, but again without being charged.

During the first four days the youngster was held in the main cells with a guard permanently on duty there. However, on the fifth day the teen was segregated and moved into an isolated inner cell, where again he was unable to attract attention to ask for food or water. He then set a second fire but this time the blaze was more serious and by the time officers arrived they were unable to pull the youngster from the cell because of the smoke.

The teenager was eventually rescued by fire-fighters. Although officers suffered from smoke inhalation, the teenager received the worst injuries and was in critical care for some time after the fire.

Related articles:

Teen admits setting cell fire

Local cop cells condemned

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  1. Anonymous says:

    what happen to the officer that was on watch while the prisoner was  on hold , should he or she been brought up Human Right Crimes)?



  2. Anonymous says:

    Who writes this stuff?  "SUB-STANDARD jail cells" It's jail not a country club.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is about time that something is done on Bodden Road about those powerful explosions that have been going on since December. People are frightened out of their sleep, and even afraid to go sleep. One house has already been caught afire with no one being responsible for damages.