Arson of Own Property

Arson of Own Property

The offence of arson – own property is outlined in section 434.1 of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of arson – own property when they intentionally or recklessly cause damage by fire or explosion to property that they own, in whole or in part, in a manner that seriously threatens the health, safety, or property of another person.

Examples

Person A intentionally sets their duplex on fire and creates a fire so large that several firefighters are injured putting it out.

Person B is testing explosive devices on their belongings in a local swamp near a commonly frequented path and almost injures several people walking by.

Person C intentionally blows up their old truck after it won’t start anymore and damages the neighbour’s house.

Cases

R. v. Ludwig, 2018 ONCA 885

In R. v. Ludwig, the accused was convicted of one count of arson – own property for intentionally starting a fire in his townhouse in a suicide attempt.

R. v. Morgan-McDougall, 2011 ONCJ 119

In R. v. Morgan-McDougall, the accused was convicted of one count of arson – own property for setting fire to her matrimonial home in a suicide attempt after an argument with her ex-husband about what they should do with the home.

Offence Specific Defences

Accident

Where the person accidentally causes damage by fire or explosion to their own property without being reckless as to whether this accident could occur, they may not have completed the offence of arson – own property.

Not Own Property

Where the property damaged by fire or explosion does not belong to the person who caused the damage, they may not have completed the offence of arson – own property. They have, however, likely committed another arson offence.

No Threat

Where the fire or explosion that damages their property does not seriously threaten the health, safety, or property of another person, the person who caused the fire or explosion may not have completed the offence of arson – own property.

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