28 Jun 2022

Longford man to be sentenced for arson attacks

Longford Courthouse.

A man charged with arson is to reappear at the next sitting of Longford Circuit Court where he will be sentenced by Judge Keenan Johnson

A man charged with arson is to reappear at the next sitting of Longford Circuit Court where he will be sentenced by Judge Keenan Johnson.

Paddy Rodgers, with addresses at 43 Farnagh, Longford, and Lisanurlan, Longford, pleaded guilty to damaging a car by fire at Park Road on February 2, 2021, and damage by fire to a van on the same night. He previously pleaded guilty to attempted arson where he placed a firelighter on the inside windowsill of a house on Park Road, while its residents were inside.

One of the vehicles, a green Renault van, was valued at €1,500 and cost €180 for removal from the property. One of the injured parties also said in a victim impact statement that he had to foot a bill of €1,470 from the fire service.

“That’s grossly unfair when he’s the victim of a crime. I think the state should be paying for that,” said Judge Johnson. “I think that is an appalling state of affairs that this man was the victim of a crime and he has to pay a bill of €1,400 to the local authority.”

A probation report furnished to the court put Mr Rodgers at high risk of reoffending and he has a previous conviction for assault, for which he received a custodial sentence.

The court heard that Mr Rodgers has been in custody on these and other charges and, while his defence team is expected to submit an application for bail, Judge Johnson said the accused is “likely to be in custody until October”.

“Had there been fuel in those vehicles, they could have exploded,” said Judge Johnson, “and attempting to set fire to a house with people inside is a serious offence.

“So you can bring your bail application but he has no entitlement to bail. These are serious offences. The victims were in their homes.”

The case has been adjourned to the next sittings of Longford Circuit Court.

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