Melbourne arsonist avoids more jail time

·1-min read

An arsonist who went on a fire-lighting spree in Melbourne's outer northern suburbs has avoided more time in jail.

Jason Ball, 50, used a cigarette lighter to start five bushfires in the Craigieburn and Roxburgh Park areas between November 2, 2019, and December 21, 2019.

The largest fire, lit in the early hours of December 21, burnt through 150 square metres of vegetation at a Craigieburn reserve.

The Roxburgh Park man initially denied the offending, but eventually pleaded guilty to one count of arson and five counts of intentionally or recklessly causing a bushfire.

Ball could not explain his actions and was lucky the blazes did not cause more significant damage or injuries, County Court Judge Carolene Gwynn said on Tuesday.

The 50-year-old had already spent 131 days in custody but further jail time would be difficult for Ball because of his mental health issues, Judge Gwynn said.

Ball was sentenced to a two-year community corrections order with 150 hours of unpaid community work and mental health treatment.

His 131 days of pre-sentence detention were also reckoned as served.

Ball would have been jailed for two years if he did not plead guilty.

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