Limassol criminal court on Wednesday sentenced a 33-year-old man to two years in prison for starting a fire on the edges of a state forest last June.
He was also given a two-month jail sentence for carrying a knife with the intention of causing fear.
On Monday 20 June 2022 at approximately 10pm, the 33-year-old, using a lighter, had set fire at three different places in the area of Dierona, Limassol just 1240 metres from the edges of a state forest. As a result, a total area of 570 square metres of pines and bushes was burned.
In addition, he had brandished a knife at a police officer and individual who confronted him.
The criminal court said that what constituted the offence of lighting a fire, less that 2km from the edges of a state forest, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment or €50,000 fine, were its consequences.
This fact made it an imperative to impose tough sentences that would act as a deterrent and safeguard the property and security of people, society in general, but also the natural environment, which plays a vital tole in fashioning our quality of life and the health of each person, the court said.
The natural environment constituted an important part of the physiognomy of our small country, while the significant number of plants and animals endemic to Cyprus were at risk of extinction as a result of serious blows dealt to the natural habitat every year, because of fires started by the irresponsible, either on purpose or through criminal negligence as in this case, the court said.
In addition, the court pointed out that people have died in the past as a result of fires or in their effort to put them out.
In deciding the sentence, the court took into account the defendant’s immediate admission, clean record, his personal and family circumstance, his cooperation with the police and the efforts he was currently making to kick his drug habit.