Victoria fire bug sent to jail

A Victoria man responsible for setting several fires in Greater Victoria over a 20-year-period has been sent to jail.

A Victoria man responsible for setting several fires in Greater Victoria over a 20-year-period — including one at a hospital and Cool-Aid society residence — has been sent to jail.

Judge Carmen Rogers sentenced Daniel Charles Sutherland, 43, to jail for an indeterminate amount of time after deeming him asa dangerous offender Wednesday.

Sutherland has a criminal history dating back to 1991, that includes approximately 90 convictions. Six prior convictions were for arson and multiple convictions are for breaching court orders, according to a provincial court ruling.

His first arson conviction was in 1991 and involved a fire at a hotel in Langford, however, little is known about the fire.

In 2005, Sutherland was convicted of arson after he lit his mattress on fire at Seven Oaks, a mental health facility on Blenkinsop Road. He was also convicted of arson for similar incidents at Johnson Manor, a Cool-Aid Society residence, at the Eric Martin Pavilion, a mental health facility, and at a Salvation Army residence within a five-year-period.

Most recently in February 2011, Sutherland set fire to a bed in the old emergency room department at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, in which 30 patients were evacuated and caused $50,000 worth of damage.

William Reimer, a clinical psychologist, interviewed Sutherland for three hours and conducted approximately five hours of testing. He found Sutherland had mixed personality disorder and met the criteria for schizophrenia, substance use disorders, mild intellectual disability and exhibitionistic disorder.

Reimer said Sutherland did not intend to harm anyone with the fire, but was “indifferent” to the impact of his actions on others.

“On all occasions, there were others present in the residence or facility where the fires were set. It is clear that these convictions demonstrate a pattern of repetitive behaviours,” Judge Rogers wrote in the judgement.

“The fact that Mr. Sutherland has been unrelenting since at least 1991 in setting fires to his bed and bedding, regardless of his residential situation or his mental health, can lead only to the conclusion that it is almost certain he will set such fires in the future.”