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Arsonist avoids jail time in WA

AAP logoAAP 29/07/2016

A Perth judge who deferred an arsonist's sentencing so he could begin rehabilitation has now granted him a suspended prison term.

Scott Raymond Morris lit a blaze inside an abandoned Chicken Treat store and set several scrub fires in Midvale in February 2014.

He was due to be sentenced in the West Australian Supreme Court last year, but Justice Michael Corboy took the unusual step of giving the arsonist the chance to treat his substance abuse and psychology issues first.

Justice Corboy said on Friday he did not know why he deferred the sentencing, describing it as a spur of the moment decision.

"I am very happy that you have performed so well," he said.

Justice Corboy noted Morris, who was 25 at the time of the crime, had completed several treatment programs and had strong support from his mother.

"You'll break her heart if you do not continue your rehabilitation in a positive way," he said.

Justice Corboy accepted the offence was spontaneous, the fires were started in cleared scrub, there was little damage caused and no one was hurt.

But he said there was a breeze that day, which meant there had still been a danger, and the smoke had caused a hazard to drivers.

Justice Corboy said he had more than halved the sentence he would normally have given and told Morris he had taken a "lenient disposition" with his case.

Morris was sentenced to 11 months in prison, suspended for six months.

Outside court, Morris swore at the media and spat on the ground.

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