A 16-year-old boy who broke into a house and lit a fire to cover his tracks — resulting in destruction of the home and death of a family dog — showed little remorse for his crime, according to a provincial court judgment.
Tristan Bris Fernandez pleaded guilty to arson and break and enter. Crown prosecutor Tim Livingstone successfully applied to have Fernandez sentenced as an adult, meaning his identity is no longer protected by measures in the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Provincial court judge Chris Cleavely ruled Fernandez should be sentenced as an adult.
“A youth court sentence, including time Mr. Fernandez has already served in custody, is not of sufficient length to hold him accountable.”
Fernandez received an 18-month jail sentence. He will spend another year in jail on top of time he has served already.
Following that jail sentence, Fernandez will be bound by a three-year probation order. He must report to a probation officer; is subject to a curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.; must stay away from the family whose house he burned down; and is not permitted to possess alcohol, drugs or guns.
Cleaveley said a psychiatrist stated in his report that Fernandez “minimized the seriousness of his actions and noted that he hopes that ‘they don’t make a big deal out of it.’”
The family’s house insurance had lapsed on their rented home.
The court-appointed psychiatrist said Fernandez’s unwillingness to accept genuine responsibility “adds to the risk of his reoffending.”
Kamloops Fire & Rescue was called April 12 to a Clearwater Avenue home on the North Shore. The family dog was killed in the fire.
Police suspected arson since the kitchen cupboards were all open.
Fernandez later told police he left school early to go to the residence, where he knew the family daughter, in order to steal a Sony PlayStation.
After taking the system, he searched the house for marijuana, “saw the family dog and said hello to it,” Cleavely wrote.
“Mr. Fernandez realized that his fingerprints and DNA were likely inside the residence.”
To cover his tracks, Fernandez sprayed cologne on towels upstairs and downstairs and then lit them. He then left the residence.
“At about supper time that day, Mr. Fernandez received a text message from the family daughter who told him the family house had been burnt and that her dog was dead.”
Fernandez later confessed to a friend and police were called. Cleaveley said killing the dog was “reckless” but unintentional.
Echoing a psychiatrist’s report, Cleaveley said it’s important that Fernandez, who attempted to be dominating and intimidating while in youth custody, “is monitored in the community for as long a period as possible.”