Arsonist caused $500,000 damage, but freed for her health

A YOUNG woman who lit a fire at a residential facility causing in excess of $500,000 damage has been released from jail because of her ongoing health issues.

An Ipswich judge found her personal circumstances made it a special case.

The woman, aged 18, pleaded guilty in the District Court to committing arson at Redbank Plains on November 29, 2016; wilful damage on October 31, 2016; and two counts of assault against two males on November 29.

Crown prosecutor Farook Anoozer said she was 17 at the time and been held in custody 461 days.

The Crown found the case had unique circumstances and that it was open to Judge Alexander Horneman-Wren SC to immediately suspend any sentence.

A psychiatric report before the court detailed the woman's health issues.

Her defence barrister James Benjamin said the woman had a severe borderline personality disorder and illness.

Mr Benjamin said it was a highly unusual case with exceptional circumstances and her psychiatric illness featured heavily in mitigation. There had also been a history of hospital admissions.

"It is a serious offence committed by a seriously ill young woman," Judge Horneman-Wren said.

After consideration was given to her age, the peculiar circumstances of the case, and to detailed reports before Judge Horneman-Wren including the personal difficulties she faces, the woman was sentenced to 2 ½ years' jail.

With the 15 months already spent in custody, the remainder of the sentence was immediately suspended.

Judge Horneman-Wren said the time already spent away from society was a very long time in any young woman's life.

For the two assaults, she was convicted only.


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