Our experienced criminal law solicitors have prepared a brief overview of the law relating to arson.

If you or someone you care about is facing a charge of arson, you need specific advice and should contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on 55800120 for advice.

For more information on other similar charges, visit our PROPERTY OFFENCES.

Arson – The Law

Section 461 of the Queensland Criminal Code creates the offence of arson.

(1) Any person who wilfully and unlawfully sets fire to any of the things following, that is to say—

(a) a building or structure;

(b) a motor vehicle, train, aircraft or vessel;

(c) any stack of cultivated vegetable produce, or of mineral or vegetable fuel;

(d) a mine, or the workings, fittings, or appliances of a mine;

is guilty of a crime.

It is immaterial if the building, vehicle, structure or vessel is incomplete.

Elements of the Offence

To be found guilty of the offence of arson, the prosecution is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements:

  1. The accused set fire to a thing;
  2. The thing was either:
    1. a building or structure;
    2. a vehicle or vessel;
    3. a stack of produce, mineral or vegetable fuel; or
    4. a mine or part thereof.
  3. The accused did so wilfully;
  4. There is no lawful excuse.

The act is considered to be wilfully done if the accused either had an actual intention to set fire to the thing, or did an act aware that arson  was a likely consequence and that they did the act regardless of the risk.

Maximum penalty

The maximum penalty for the allegation of arson is life imprisonment.

Jurisdiction – Where will the matter be heard?

The offence is indictable and is to be heard in the District Court.

Conviction – Does a conviction have to be recorded?

The sentencing Court has a discretion whether or not to record a conviction against you for the offence of fraud.  Generally a conviction would not be recorded for a minor first offence for this type of offence, although one is likely for subsequent convictions, or where a circumstance of aggravation is made out.

The relevant factors are set out in section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, and include, the nature of the offence, the offenders character and age, together with the impact the recording a conviction would have on the offenders chances of finding employment. If you are concerned about a conviction being recorded on you or a loved you should seek legal advice.

For specific legal advice you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.