Smoker who claimed arson after setting house on fire with lit cigarette conditionally discharged

A woman who suffered third-degree burns to her face has been conditionally discharged, over making a false report of arson to the police

The woman pleaded guilty to filing a false report claiming she had been the victim of an arson attack
The woman pleaded guilty to filing a false report claiming she had been the victim of an arson attack

A woman who suffered third-degree burns to her face after she fell asleep, drunk while holding a lit cigarette has been charged with making a false report of arson to the police.

The 34-year-old Hungarian appeared in court before magistrate Aaron Bugeja this morning, accused of knowingly giving the police information about an offence which had not in fact been committed.

The crime occurred on 21 January, whilst the woman was in hospital following the blaze which consumed her Msida apartment.

Although prosecution and defence counsel were allowed to approach the bench to discuss the matter privately, sources say the woman had initially told the police that she suspected arson as the cause behind the apartment fire which left her heavily scarred. However, she later admitted to the police that she had fallen asleep with a burning cigarette in her hands as she had had a lot to drink.   

The woman pleaded guilty to the solitary charge, saying quietly: “I am guilty, yes.”

The court gave her the opportunity to recant her confession, but the woman repeated her admission of guilt.

After hearing submissions, the magistrate said he felt that it was not appropriate to inflict a punishment in the circumstances and conditionally discharged the woman on condition that she commits no other crime within 6 months from the date of judgment. She was condemned to pay the costs of court and expert expenses incurred in the course of the inquiry that was launched as a result of her false report to the police.

“Madam, go slow with the booze because it can cost you dearly in terms of money, health, well-being and relationships,” chided the magistrate as the woman was ushered out of the courtroom.

Lawyer Graziella Tanti was defence counsel.

Inspectors Colin Sheldon and Mario Xiberras prosecuted.

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