A man was found allegedly setting fire to a wooded area in West Kelowna. (Andrew Lee/Facebook)

A man was found allegedly setting fire to a wooded area in West Kelowna. (Andrew Lee/Facebook)

Arsonist sentenced for throwing a Molotov cocktail during Okanagan fire season

Stephen Leader pled guilty for committing an act intended to cause an explosion

An Okanagan arsonist was sentenced in a Kelowna Supreme court on June 23, for throwing a Molotov cocktail in a forested area of West Kelowna.

Stephen Leader was arrested and charged with arson on July 22, 2021, after being videotaped setting a fire in a wooded area in Glenrosa near Webber Road, on July 10.

READ MORE: UPDATE: West Kelowna man arrested, charged with arson

Residents of the area acted quickly and extinguished the fire before it got out of hand.

Dan McLaughlin with the BC Prosecution Service said that Leader pled guilty to a single count of committing an act intended to cause an explosion likely to cause serious bodily harm or death or serious damage to property.

Leader was given a conditional sentence of 223 days, followed by three years probation. All other charges were stayed following the guilty plea.

McLaughlin said that Leader is prohibited from possessing firearms for 10 years.

The arsonist had been in custody for 11 months prior to sentencing.

After the incident in July 2021, Kelowna-West MLA Ben Stewart wrote a letter to B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth calling for people facing serious charges to be detained until charge assessment is complete.

“It’s bad enough when they (wildfires) are caused by thunderstorms and lightning (sic), but it is even more upsetting when it’s caused by negligence or stupidity…and it’s completely outrageous when it appears people are deliberately trying to start fires,” he wrote.


@Rangers_mom
Jacqueline.Gelineau@kelownacapnews.com

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