What is Arson?

Arson is a crime of intentionally setting fire to buildings, wildland areas, vehicles or other property with the intent to cause damage.

 

Types of Arson and Penalties

Type of offenceMaximum prison sentence
Arson destroying or damaging property7 years
Arson destroying or damaging property, with the intention to endanger the life of another25 years
Bushfires14 years

 

Can Arson be accidental?

The offence of arson applies where someone has intentionally lit a fire with the intent to cause harm or damage. Accidental fires are usually not prosecuted as arson, unless gross negligence was involved.

 

What is Aggravated Arson?

Aggravated arson is the most serious form of arson with penalties up to 25 years imprisonment. The offence occurs when someone destroys or damages a property by means of fire or explosive, with the intent to endanger the life of another person.

 

Arson Prosecutions

Prosecutions for arson often rely heavily upon circumstantial evidence because much of the available evidence, such as accelerants, DNA and fingerprints have been destroyed by heat or fire. Circumstantial evidence can include things such as telephone records, telephone intercept material, listening device product and scientific evidence.

Although Arson is not a prevalent crime, our accredited criminal law specialist has experience in defending people accused or suspected of arson. This experience includes appearances at Coronial Inquiries to determine the cause of a fire and whether or not a person should face criminal prosecution.