Angela Pershouse says she will never light a fire again
Angela Pershouse says she will never light a fire again

You must not light fires anymore: magistrate

APOLOGETIC Angela Pershouse says she will never light a fire again after she used a burning cigarette to deliberately light a scrub fire as she felt "pissed off".

Six fire emergency officers were called to put out the blaze that destroyed scrub in a paddock off Dalrymple Drive in Toolooa.

Pershouse, 24, pleaded guilty in Gladstone Magistrates Court to lighting an unauthorised fire with no permit at 6pm on September 12 last year. Her sentence continued yesterday after magistrate Penelope Hay adjourned it last week to get reports on Pershouse's medical condition.

Police prosecutor Gavin Reece said the fire had quickly spread and Pershouse admitted lighting it, telling officers she was pissed off.

Lawyer Jun Pepito explained to the court Pershouse has ADHD, an intellectual disorder and Tourette syndrome and was cared for by her mother, had the assistance of a support worker, and the Public Trustee.

He said she knew what she had done was wrong but patience was needed to explain things in a way that she understood. "You must not light fires anymore," Ms Hay told Pershouse.

I promise I won't. I promise I won't do it again," she said.

Pershouse told the magistrate that if she gets angry again she will spend time with her animals.

"If I get angry I'll just stay in the yard, play in the yard to calm down," she said.

Ms Hay agreed, saying it was better to do something good "rather than something destructive". In her sentencing Ms Hay found Pershouse had a significant intellectual disability and nothing would be gained by her incarceration or Probation, and as a person of heightened risk and vulnerability such punishment would not be meaningful.

"You being angry and lighting a fire with a cigarette put the lives of six fire fighters at risk," she said.

"Ms Pershouse your action could have killed or injured people or an animal and that's not fair. "You might think it's not hurting anyone but that's wrong." Pershouse was fined $250.



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