11 April 2024

Griffith man handed prison sentence after lighting fires inside father’s house

| Oliver Jacques
Griffith court exterior

A Griffith man has been given an 18-month prison sentence for damaging a property. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Griffith man Patrick Anthony Sergi, 43, has been handed an 18-month prison sentence in Griffith Local Court after being convicted of damaging a property by fire and driving a vehicle with an expired licence.

According to the police report, Mr Sergi drove to and entered his father’s house on 11 December 2023 and lit fires in multiple locations, including a mattress in the middle of the front bedroom and in two corners of the front right bedroom.

Firefighters were called to the residence and extinguished the blaze within a few hours.

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Mr Sergi told police there were allegedly electrical problems in the house, including plugs and switches hanging off walls.

However, forensic investigators discovered three separate ignition points in the two front rooms.

The temperature in Griffith reached a maximum of 37 degrees Celsius on the day the incident occurred. The previous day was the hottest of the month – the temperature hit 41 degrees Celsius, with a total fire ban in place.

Mr Sergi was arrested on 21 December 2023 and taken into custody.

At his sentencing hearing on Thursday 4 April, the court was told the 43-year-old suffered from mental illnesses and had been appropriately medicated while in custody.

His lawyer, Olivia Harris, asked Magistrate Trevor Khan to consider an intensive correction order for her client, which would mean he could serve his sentence within the community rather than in prison.

Magistrate Khan said Mr Sergi had previously been on an intensive correction order and that this didn’t stop him offending.

“When he goes off his medication, he lights fires,” Magistrate Khan said.

“I’m not satisfied that Mr Sergi does not pose a serious risk to the community … I intend to impose a term of imprisonment.”

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He sentenced the 43-year-old to 18 months in prison, to commence from the date he was arrested on 21 December 2023 and expiring on 20 June 2025 with a non-parole period of nine months.

Mr Sergi could be released on parole on 20 September 2024.

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