Trevor Stanley Luszcz rested his head against the courtroom wall as prosecutor Juan O’Quinn made the Crown’s case.
Provincial Court Judge Mark Takahashi sentenced Luszcz, 33, to 60 days for arson by negligence, less eight days for time spent in custody, plus 30 days for breach of undertaking or recognizance to be served consecutively. Following his release, Luszcz was given two years of probation.
“Mr. Luszcz has an interesting sort of circumstance, your honour since he’s been battling mental illness and drug addiction,” O’Quinn said, noting that Luszcz suffers from schizophrenia.
Earlier on May 14, Luszcz pleaded guilty to arson by negligence relating to a Sept. 1, 2017 incident at Trinity Valley Trailer Park, now known as Valleyview Mobile Home Park, that fully engulfed his parents’ mobile home and damaged two neighbouring units. The incident, court heard, occurred when Luszcz unintentionally left a cigarette burning.
Prior to the blaze, the crown said, Luszcz had been living with his parents at the mobile home, but circumstances lead to Luszcz being kicked out of the home. Luszcz then reportedly took up residence on the mobile home’s deck.
“He was pretty much homeless,” O’Quinn said.
On the day of the incident, the crown said a witness reported hearing a loud popping sound, which turned out to be the fire starting in the trailer. The witness then said that they overheard Luszcz saying he thought he had extinguished his cigarette.
The crown said the fire resulted in a total loss, and Luszcz’s parents were left without their home.
“My concern is he throws the cigarette away, fire starts, and he doesn’t call anybody, he doesn’t try to get help to do something about the fire. In fact, he just walks away,” said Takahashi.
“The reason I didn’t call 9-1-1 was because I was locked out of the house… I tried,” Luszcz said as he stood up to address Takahashi.
No one was in the home at the time of the fire.
Following the incident, when Luszcz had been released on bail and had been living in both the Howard House and on the street, the court heard that he had allegedly committed a breach of undertaking or recognizance. Police who apprehended Luszcz said that he appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and was in possession of several lighters.
“He is adamant that he didn’t use drugs during that period,” said Luszcz’s defence lawyer Tim Russell.
Takahashi ordered that, upon his release from prison, Luszcz not go to the Valleyview Mobile Home Park or his parents’ campsite at Kin Beach and that he not be in possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia. Furthermore, Luszcz is not to have contact with his parents except through probation services.
“He very much does want to keep contact with his parents,” said Russell, adding that the parents have agreed to be willing to see Luszcz after he seeks mental help as per a Rogers Order. “That gives him even more motivation.
“He is obviously very remorseful. It has obviously had a huge impact on his family and the people he cares about.”