$7409 reparation order for fireworks blaze

A 19-year-old who shot fireworks out the window of a car, which started a $46,000 fire, has been sentenced to community work and reparations.

Thomas Tecwyn Williamson, a fencer from Darfield, was sentenced on a charge of recklessly causing the damage to mature pine shelter belts, established garden hedges, and a ride-on lawnmower in Newtons Road, Selwyn District, on November 3.

Williamson lit and fired fireworks out of the rear passenger window of a car. He fired them at another car which was travelling in convoy around the rural area, and the occupants of both cars knew each other.

Some of the shots from the firework hit a hedge line on the opposite side of the road, which set the vegetation alight in hot weather and strong winds.

Emergency services took several hours to put the fire out, and the property owners had to move out of the house overnight.

Defence counsel Gerard Thwaites said he had handed five references to the Judge, including one from the victims.

Judge Peter Butler said there was extensive damage to the property and the fire came close to the victims’ house, scorching and damaging a window awning from falling embers.

Williamson’s pre-sentence report said he was genuinely remorseful, offered reparation, was a low risk of re-offending, and had no alcohol or drug problems.

The victim impact report said the fire caused $46,000 damage, but insurance covered most of this amount.

Judge Butler sentenced Williamson to pay reparations of $7409 to the victims for remedial work, and 100 hours of community work.