Self-confessed arsonist who set fire to Sliema garage jailed for four years

A 24-year-old man has been sentenced to four years in prison after admitting to starting a fire in an underground garage in Sliema that resulted in the destruction of two vehicles

A 24-year-old man has been jailed for arson, after admitting to having started a fire in an underground garage in Sliema last November that had resulted in the destruction of two vehicles. 

Ion Busuioc, 24, from Romania, had been charged with intentionally starting a fire at an underground garage beneath an apartment complex in Guze Howard street, Sliema

The prosecuting police inspectors, Mario Xiberras and Eman Hayman, had exhibited footage showing the accused entering the complex at ground level, making his way into several garages and breaking into cars. An item stolen from one of those cars was later found at the accused’s residence. The footage also showed him leaving another garage, followed by a bright flash of fire. The BMW car and KTM motorcycle inside that garage were destroyed in the fire.

The accused had told the police that he recognised himself in the footage, and that he did not know why he had started the fire.

As the case against him progressed, Busuioc had filed a guilty plea.

A court-appointed medical expert had established that the man was not in a state of insanity when he had committed the offence and that any symptoms of psychiatric disturbances had started after Busuioc was taken into custody.

In view of his admission, the Court of Magistrates, presided by Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech declared Busuioc guilty of the charges, sentencing him to imprisonment for four years.

In addition to the custodial sentence, Busuioc must also submit to psychological and psychiatric treatment, under a three-year treatment order imposed by the court.

A three-year restraining order in favour of the victims and their families was also issued.

In sentencing the arsonist, the court noted that while his guilty plea had been made relatively early in the proceedings, it could not discard or ignore the increasing regularity of arson attacks. “The actions of the accused instilled terror in many people. Actions carried out by a person, who until truly rehabilitated, should not be allowed to circulate in society,” said the magistrate.

A recommendation to the Principal Immigration Officer, asking that the accused be deported back to Romania after serving his sentence, was also made. 

Lawyer Leontine Calleja was defence counsel.