Jail for Mersey Valley Workers Club arsonist Jessica Streets

DELIBERATELY LIT:  Fire investigator Anthony Goss looks for evidence at the Mersey Valley Workers Club in June. Picture: Paul Scambler.

DELIBERATELY LIT: Fire investigator Anthony Goss looks for evidence at the Mersey Valley Workers Club in June. Picture: Paul Scambler.

A teen arsonist who set fire to the Mersey Valley Workers Club had limited intellectual capacity, but knew right from wrong, a sentencing judge said.

“I accept that your level of intellectual functioning impacts on your capacity to assess the full extent of the consequences of your actions, but I am also satisfied that you know right from wrong, and you well knew when you lit those fires that what you were doing was very wrong,” Justice Michael Brett told Jessica Jean Rose Streets, 19, in the Supreme Court, in Burnie.

Streets had earlier pleaded guilty to one count each of arson and unlawfully setting fire to property.

She set fire to a pile of clothes behind the St Vincent de Paul depot at Smithton on April 10, Justice Brett said. The fire spread to the building and Streets, who was homeless, left with two friends without trying to stop the fire or alert authorities.

On the night of June 15, Justice Brett said Streets, her boyfriend and a 16-year-old, were in a rear, outdoor area of the Workers Club, which was closed at the time.

“You had been drinking and were arguing with the others,” Justice Brett said. “You and your boyfriend separately lit fires against the wall of the building of the club.” The damage bill was estimated at $410,000-430,000, with the club forced to stop operations.

He said Streets was essentially illiterate and innumerate and suffered from various conditions, including depression. Justice Brett sentenced Streets to two years’ jail, backdated to July 10 to account for time already spent in custody. He suspended the last 15 months, on condition Streets not commit an offence punishable by jail for 18 months.

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