Intentionally causing a bush fire is an offence and will be categorised as Arson.
Section 203E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) states:
‘A person who intentionally causes a fire, and who is reckless as to the spread of the fire to vegetation on any public land or on land belonging to another is guilty of an offence’.
Recklessness may also be established by proof of intention.
however, a firefighter or acting under the direction of a firefighter, or a person who caused the fire during bushfire fighting or hazard reduction operations will not be guilty of this offence.
The offence is also found in the Rural Fires Act 1997 (NSW) under s 100 whereby a 5 year imprisonment term is applicable and/or a fine of 1000 penalty units.
1 penalty unit = $110 thus 1000 x $110.00 = $110,000.00 maximum fine.
Causing a fire can lead to a prison sentence of up to 2 years (if heard in the Local Court) or up to 14 years (If heard in the District Court).
Please note these penalties are reserved for the worst kind of offending and are unlikely to be what you would receive.
In NSW, a court can impose any of the following penalties for intentionally causing a bush fire of:
Since Starting a Bush Fire offence is a criminal offence, the burden of proof lies on the Prosecution. The prosecution must prove each of the elements in the charge beyond reasonable doubt being:
Note: The spread of the fire can be established simply by proof of intention.
Some of the possible defences available for those charged with Starting a Bush Fire can include;
For Starting a Bush Fire, Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® offers the following options:
For further information on your choices at law click on (CHOICES AT LAW tab on our website)
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If you are caught up in this charge our team at Rep-Revive Criminal Lawyers® are best suited for representing your case.