Aussie Firefighter-Arsonist Has Sentence Suspended

An Australian firefighter who was convicted of setting a wildland fire and calling into two false alarms has had his one-year prison sentence reduced to a nine-month suspended sentence by an appellate court.

Jourdan Dean Ashford, 21, who served with the Bedfordale Bushfire Brigade as a volunteer, had been sentenced to one year in jail by Perth District Court Judge Richard Keen. Ashford admitted to setting a brush fire in 2014 and calling in two false alarms. Judge Keen considered his service as a volunteer firefighter to be an aggravating factor and sentenced him more harshly.

This week the Court of Appeals for Western Australia reversed Judge Keen, reducing Ashford’s sentence to nine-months and suspending the sentence. The ruling led to Ashford’s release from prison. More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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