Calgary

Setting house on fire twice results in 2-year sentence for Airdrie man

A man in Airdrie, Alta., has been sentenced to two years plus a day in a federal penitentiary after admitting to twice intentionally setting his house on fire in 2016.

Shaun Sandbach pleaded guilty to arson in March

Shaun Sandbach admitted he set fire to his Airdrie home twice in 2016. He has pleaded guilty to arson and was sentenced to two years plus a day. (Court exhibit)

A man in Airdrie, Alta., has been sentenced to two years plus a day in a federal penitentiary after admitting to twice intentionally setting his house on fire in 2016. 

Shaun Sandbach, 40, pleaded guilty to arson in March and was sentenced in a Court of Queen's Bench courtroom Thursday. The sentence was a joint submission from the Crown and the defence. 

Sandbach's guilty plea was considered a mitigating factor, the court heard, as it demonstrated his willingness to take responsibility.

His potential for rehabilitation was also a factor, said Justice Michele Hollins. Sandbach has a supportive family, was gainfully employed in the past and hopes to be again. 

The court also heard that Sandbach suffers from seizures and is taking methadone to treat an addiction to painkillers he developed after a past hernia surgery.

"I want to encourage you to work hard at maintaining your sobriety," said Hollins, who noted this should be easy to do in prison, in theory, but is not always in practice. 

"It will give you a head start on your release."

Fires set in April, December 2016

In December 2016, Shaun Sandbach set two fires, including this one under a set of stairs, using rags soaked in thinner. (Court exhibit )

The two fires were set April 13 and Dec. 31, 2016. After the first fire, Sandbach initiated an insurance claim and contractors worked through the year to rebuild. 

They were nearly done repairs when a neighbour called 911 on New Year's Eve to report Sandbach's house was on fire again. 

In March, Sandbach admitted he was the one who set the fires. 

Asked to address the courtroom Thursday, Sandbach briefly expressed regret for his actions.

Hollins wished Sandbach good luck in the future, which he thanked her for. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paula Duhatschek

Reporter/Editor

Paula Duhatschek is a reporter with CBC Calgary who previously worked for CBC News in Kitchener and in London, Ont. You can reach her at paula.duhatschek@cbc.ca.

With files from Meghan Grant

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