A MAN who set his house alight in 2011 had every reason to smile — he escaped a jail term yesterday.
Timoci Taqainakoro was convicted of two counts of arson by High Court judge Justice Paul Madigan and handed an 18-month imprisonment term suspended for two years.
On October 29, 2011, Taqainakoro set his house on fire after arguing with his wife. In the process, part of his neighbour's house was destroyed.
Taqainakoro's lawyer David Toganivalu told the court his client had paid $320 to his neighbour, Dinesh Kumar, for the damage caused to his house.
They lived in an open lean-to house at Muanikoso, Nasinu at the time of the offence. The court heard the two appeared to be drunk and Taqainakoro was raising his suspicions that his wife was having an affair with a soldier.
Justice Madigan said Taqainakoro destroyed his own home through his own stupidity, incurring the cost and inconvenience of providing accommodation anew for himself and his wife.
"The real wrongdoing is the burning of his neighbour's house through his recklessness," he said.
Justice Madigan passed a suspended term on the grounds that there was no victim of the crime apart from Taqainakoro and his wife and that there was no wilfulness to harm or damage.
He said Taqainakoro was forced to rebuild the matrimonial home, reimburse his neighbour for the damage and was sincerely remorseful.