A man who burned his own home to the ground before turning himself into police is the only one who is paying the consequences for his actions, a court has heard.
Jaden Neil Sims, 26, fronted Inverell Local Court for sentencing on Thursday, charged with setting his Swan Street home on fire last year after becoming upset with a court conviction earlier in the day.
His solicitor, Mandy Mackenzie, told magistrate Holly Kemp that his thoughts "were not in order" at the time, and he couldn't give a reason why he decided to do it.
The incident arose on November 26 last year, after his home was burned to the ground, extinguished by the fire brigade before it could damage any other properties near it.
Police statements tendered to court outlined Sims had gone to a friend's place after he was convicted and sentenced for a domestic violence assault, feeling "upset" at the outcome.
He'd then left his friend's house, allegedly despite desperate attempts to keep him there, before he went to his own house and set fire to two blankets on the lounge.
He then left, making no attempts to control or contain the blaze, and handed himself into the police station where he told them what he'd done.
Sims was then arrested, allegedly telling police he was suffering from depression and ICE addiction. He was taken to hospital after the interview and was then transferred to the Clarke Centre in Armidale.
Ms Mackenzie submitted he had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and said the case was initially set down to seek a section 32 order, which would have allowed the court to deal with the matter by putting him in the care and treatment of mental health professionals, rather than dealing with them through the criminal justice system.
However she said the defence case had been "stonewalled" by medical providers, who said the reports would have to be "subpoenaed from them".
She noted people of sound mind would not burn their own house down before walking to the police station to hand themselves in, telling officers "it was either me or the house".
He had been suffering greatly since losing his parents, Ms Mackenzie explained, after they'd been "ripped away from him in such a short space of time" having both passed away last year.
"It was disastrous for him," she said, noting he was currently unable to "manage his own life".
Ms Mackenzie said he'd "put himself to sufferance" seeing he had no insurance and no wherewithal to rebuild.
"The sentimental value has now all gone and he is left with an empty block of land," she said.
"It is certainly a serious offence, but not one that has [affected] anyone else... he has to suffer the whole of the consequences."
The prosecution declined to make submissions.
In sentencing, magistrate Kemp noted he was on two other corrections orders at the time, including the 18-month community corrections order he was given the day of the fire, and took them as aggravating features while keeping them in place.
"There is clear presence of mental health issues but I cannot lose sight ... not only significant damage to his own property but [he also] put other property in jeopardy," she stated.
Sims was sentenced to an intensive corrections order for 10 months, to be supervised by community corrections, to undertake any drug and mental health programs they recommended, and to abstain from drugs for the entirety of the order.
"The sentencing assessment report refers to ongoing mental health issues, which were no doubt exacerbated by the loss of his parents... but the ongoing drug use will make it worse," Magistrate Kemp said.
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