Arson charge dismissed over weak evidence

A man charged with setting fire to a house at East La Penitence yesterday had the charge of arson against him dismissed when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

Magistrate Fabayo Azore made the decision to dismiss the charge against Phillip Saul Dupaul as she was not in favour of the evidence provided by Sieata O’Donoghue, sister of Godfrey Stewart whose house was destroyed by the fire. The evidence provided was thought to be weak since O’Donoghue claimed that she saw Dupaul lighting her brother’s house on fire, when she lives approximately 20 ft away and Stewart’s yard is surrounded by a 7 ft zinc fence.

The charge had stated that on April 27, Dupaul had set fire to the dwelling house of Stewart, located at lot A72 East La Penitence.

Dupaul, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, was initially granted bail in the sum of $250,000 on May 2; this sum was later reduced to $100,000 after he could not afford to pay the previous amount.  He was then remanded after he failed to pay the final amount granted to him by the court.

Police facts stated that Dupaul, 36, of Kitty, Georgetown, at the time of the incident, lived close to Stewart and that on April 27, Stewart secured his home and went to work. It was alleged that around 00:45hrs the next day, O’Donoghue  saw Dupaul lighting Stewart’s house on fire.

It was further stated that she made an alarm and called the fire service. However, by the time the fire tender arrived, Stewart’s house was already completely engulfed in fire.

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